Open Post

March 2020 Open Post

This week’s Ecosophian offering is the monthly (well, more or less!) open post to field questions and encourage discussion among my readers. All the standard rules apply — no profanity, no sales pitches, no trolling, no rudeness, no long screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank — but since there’s no topic, nothing is off topic…

Well, with one exception. Last week’s post on this year’s Aries ingress chart for the United States promptly devolved into yet another conversation about the current CoVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, leaving every other aspect of the chart untouched. I think we all know the current situation; we’ve all heard analyses and predictions, ranging from the roseate to the out-and-out doombat; and there are plenty of other places online to talk about that virus and its medical, economic, and social effects. Thus I’m going to ask my readers to leave that topic at the door so we can talk about other things this week. Attempted comments about the coronavirus will therefore be deleted. I mean that quite seriously.

With that said, have at it!


  1. Hello JMG, a while back you wrote something along the lines that people who are addicted to masturbating to internet porn will likely experience some semblance of the Christian version of Hell when they die. Could you extrapolate on that please? Thank you!

  2. My question is prompted by what you said this past Monday: “The astral plane is the plane of concrete consciousness, the realm where most of our ordinary thinking takes place as well as the realm of imagination and dreams.” That leads me to ask, what is the role of the mental plane, then? Is it a different type of thinking, something to do with archetypes, maybe, something else entirely? Thanks.

  3. Hi JMG,
    I saw a bit of the brouhaha over the Democratic Party elections and I realized (like many other people) that the party is too ossified to ever change. They are not even trying to pretend anymore – blocking Trump’s UBI, cheating at their own elections etc.
    So it looks like it will collapse sometimes (soon?) and be replaced by another party (just like the whigs).

    Second thing that is obvious to me is that the third party will have to be a grassroots movement. If you have seen the craven behavior of the “saviors” of the party (Tulsi and Bernie, both bought and sold) you realize that no heroes will arise to do the work for us.

    What is your perspective on this?

  4. Hi,

    As I noted before, in a crisis people seem to be doing the same thing over and over (be it guns, toilet paper or declaring the end of the world).
    This relates to what a poster was asking last week – this century seems very linear. No abrupt changes, revolutions etc.

    Is it another sign of collapse? Or just inertia of a giant connected global population? Or maybe the calm before the storm?

  5. Long-time reader, rarely commenter … I’m utterly amazed at your mentat-like abilities.

    I know you recommend ditching the TV to increase one’s cognitive abilities (in progress),
    and I presume that your occult/magical training (I’m suffering from depression, so that’s a no per your recommendation) and balanced diet have helped in that regard as well,
    but are there any other roads that lead to mentat-Rome?

    St. John’s wort? Crossword puzzles? Having a daily mental regimen like Thomas Jefferson?

  6. Can we discuss the political fallout and shifts in international relations that will result from the current outbreak?

  7. @JMG,

    I recall you saying a few times before (I’m not sure where and when) that a sustainable, renewables-powered society would use some 10 to 15 percent of the per-capita energy of the modern United States.

    On a per-capita basis, India presently consumes 6.1 percent as much oil, and 18.9 percent as much electricity as the US. Obviously India is not an ecotechnic society, but the point is that their fossil fuel consumption is low enough that they will have a much easier time than us of switching over to renewables when the need arises.

    Do you think, then, that modern India is a good model of what sort of technology and lifestyle the post-industrial world will be able to support?

  8. This is a question for everyone: what do you think of nootropics? If you’ve tried them, what effects did you get?

  9. Would it be possible to adapt one of the banishing rituals to a buddhist practice. If so, how would you go about doing it? I discussed this with my buddhist mentor and, much to my surprise, he said “Good idea. Do it.” I expect doing so might help diminish the “astral static” that came up on last week’s post. Thanks.

  10. How often does it work the other way? We use respect and ritual to — i can’t believe i’m going to say this — “reach out” to nature / entities / beings / conscious-ness(es) distinct from ourselves. For purposes that may be, shall we say, varied. How do we KNOW when / if the reaching out comes not from us?

  11. No question, just some data points. There’s been some discussion here in the past about the environmental impact of supposedly green technologies, and two unrelated pieces of news might be of interest.

    The first was a report about a Canadian conference for the mining industry earlier this year in which Prime Minister Trudeau is quoted as stating: “The mining industry can not only drive the clean transition, but profit from it. To produce high-density batteries and wind turbines, you need copper, nickel and cobalt. To build a solar panel, you need 19 metals and minerals.”. Basically, he’s saying that we can stop climate change by mining. It’s just some further evidence of how industry is lobbying for green tech in order to profit from it, without, of course, actually doing anything about climate change.

    The other was a recent article in the Guardian which proudly stated that electric vehicles produce less CO2 than petrol based vehicles, even with the manufacturing process factored in. Apparently this also applies to electric heat pumps. I can already picture several people I know using this to justify their decisions to eventually buy an EV while thinking it’s going to ‘save’ the environment. The article missed completely the point that the best way to reduce one’s impact, if one has to have a car at all, is to drive the one you have for as long as possible. I’m not surprised that the article missed the point though…

  12. Okay, you asked for it.

    Innsmouth style, in a circle, with chanting and clapping, call-and-response format.

    Note: when, as the hobo in the hen house said to the farmer, “There’s nobody here but us chickens,” heckling and comments can abound, and will be shown in square brackets.

    Give me that real old time religion
    Give me that real old time religion
    Give me that real old time religion
    It’s good enough for me

    I will worship Great Cthulhu
    As an Old One, he’s a lulu
    When he wakes, he’ll be the boss of us
    That’s good enough for me.

    Give me that real old time religion

    Praise an thanks to Shub-Nehurrath
    She’s the oldest goddess, do the math!
    Disrespect will earn her wrath,
    That’s good enough for me.

    [Everybody: “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy!”]

    Give me that real old time religion

    I signed on with the King in Yellow
    He’s a really scary fellow
    The Castaignes are even scarier,
    That’s good enough for me!
    [“They play with TNT!”]

    Give me that real old time religion

    Gave my heart to Phauz, that tomboy brat
    She is such a little cat!
    Well, I see nothing wrong with that,
    She’s good enough for me.
    [“-OW! MEOW!”]

    Give me that real old time religion

    I will worship Nyarlathotep
    He’s a Great Old One who’s really hep
    If you go with him, watch your step,
    that’s good enough for me!
    [“That sounds like fun to me.
    He loves moonshine [[MoonLIGHT, you idiot!]], blues, and fast cars
    May show up at church – or dive bars
    Bet he’s really popular Down South!
    [[“Yea, Brother! One of us! Not afraid to get his hands dirty, either!”
    But a real Southern Gentleman for all that”]]
    “Their Soul and Messenger and Mouth!”]

    Give me that real old time religion
    [‘Cause I’m not a sheep or pigeon.”]
    Give me that real old time religion
    It’s good enough for me

  13. Why doesn’t Tariff Sheriff Trump simply place a $30 per barrel tariff on imported oil to send the Russians and Saudis packing?

  14. How are folks’ gardens coming along? My garlic chives are coming back with enthusiasm; my garlic is up; the herbs I nurtured last summer seem to be coming in as well – yarrow, chamomile, and sage, particularly. Zone 5b in WMass. I’ve got more herbs started as well as broccoli, artichokes, and cardoon – all in pots under lights on heat mats.

  15. Hello All,

    With more time at home, I wanted to share some things for which I am grateful – things put into place before I had this time at home. First, good relationships with family. If I hadn’t invested some time through the years, we might be having a lot more tension now. Same with friends and various associations. Texts and online venues work relatively well, again when the relationships are already in place. My garden; been picking winter greens for weeks. Just finished a bowl of turnips. Game collection and materials for DIY game designs. Great way to pass the time with previously mentioned family and alone with my imagination. Relative good active habits and a neighborhood easy to safely stroll.

    Would love to hear how other’s investments are bearing fruit and giving cause for gratitude these days.

  16. Ha! You just banned the one topic that’s on everybody’s mind. Okay, so let me try something else, something that I’ve been meaning to ask you for a while. You make astrology based predictions, but also, just like the rest of us, you make predictions based on evidence that has nothing to do with what astrological charts tell you. So, I’m sure you’ve occasionally obtained conflicting predictions: the facts on the ground seem to be pointing in one direction, while the facts in the sky (if I may express myself that way) point in another. So, in such cases, which prediction generally turns out to be more correct? Do you have any examples to share? Thanks. 🙂

  17. Hello JMG and Company:
    I have signed up for a captain’s class online. I live on a boat, so there will be loads of practical knowledge I will acquire. The thing I really look forward to though is navigation. I will get to fiddle with things involving points, angles, straight edges and circumferences…etc. I am amped to see how I can apply this knowledge to my study of sacred geography and perhaps astrology. Who knows what deities/energies may be found in the angles. I don’t know if we will get exposure to celestial navigation but that would cool too. We will definitely be shooting the sun. Any suggestions, JMG, as I move through this body of knowledge?

    Cheers, Elizabeth in Port Angeles (now)

  18. Open Question: Is the general public actually becoming stupider? Or does it just seem that way?
    Here’s an article about the psychiatric profession intentionally (for profit-making purposes) making people stupider:

    I’d be interested to know a ballpark figure on how many people end up intentionally (or stupidly?) disobeying your instructions about not posting comments on the forbidden topic.
    Is stupidification happening as we speak?

  19. I want to first start off by thanking you for all your writings. I was more gung-ho than my husband for the past decade as we broke off the regular American path. He would go along with my projects with little to no complaining, but always questioning “are you sure we need to do this?” Well, he has said to me ten times in the past week “Wow, our life is basically unchanged and my colleagues at work are losing their minds right now.” I knew from your writings we end up in a wobbly world at some point and I could accept and prepare for that and still live a full life. Thank you.

    Second, I have a group of my own work colleagues who have been forced to start homeschooling. I did a short write-up last week of three things to implement first based on my twelve years of experience doing it. The response was zero questions for more info. One guy did respond with “based on what I’ve been reading….” and said something I took as condescending. I am so incredibly annoyed that here I am – experienced person offering my knowledge to inexperienced people – and they ignore it. I swore to myself never to offer help or knowledge again. In fact I deleted my homeschooling blog I was writing.

    I’m assuming you’ve run into this dynamic where people new to druidry, for example, try to tell you how it actually works based on their days of experience as opposed to your decades. What do you do? Just ignore them? Block them? Pray for them? I wanted to respond with some statement that was like smacking him upside the head (as my grandmother used to call it) but couldn’t think of anything.

  20. Over the past couple weeks we’ve had occassion to see sharp reversals of environmental damage. Not complete reversals mind you, but sustantial dimishing of damage and improvement of conditions. It gives me hope that we really can do quite a lot about the environment.

  21. Good afternoon JMG,

    1. A comment you recently responded to, stated that muslims, when they pray towards the kaaba, reinforce the religion’s egregor. In your experience, do the prayers of the various religious faithful primarily go to egregors as opposed to the various deities themselves?

    2. Astrologically speaking, I have some major detriments for both Mars and Mercury and Chris Warnock recommended planetary charity for both. As I understand it, Mars is for martial/physical areas whereas Mercury can be for more intellectual or business/trade area oriented. Do you have any specific charities that’d you recommend for both? Would donations to you for your blog activities count towards Mercury?

    3. After engaging in a more regular prayer life oriented towards planetary devotion, I’ve noticed that “successful” prayer sessions involve a sort of small roaring inside my head/mind, like if you put your head out of a fast moving car. Is that a symptom of spiritual blockage? Or is that a green light signal?

    Thanks as always for your time and efforts! -Andrew

  22. Do dogs suffer from depression? I just get this feeling from my new dog that she sometimes falls into a lethargic and listless state. She was adopted from a shelter, so I don’t know what she experienced before. Just wondered what folks in this forum have to say about that.

  23. Seeing as how my comment here last month about fear of Hell provoked a response, both here and on the following Magic Monday, I felt that I owed some sort of response. The idea of an All-Loving God sentencing people to an eternity of damnation doesn’t square up, an idea first made clear to me when I was about ten years old and saw George Carlin talk about it in one of his routines. The Universalist and Orthodox conceptions of Heaven and Hell seem to square much more with the idea of an all loving God.
    One thing that has often been suggested to me is to read the Bible. I realize now that I often regard doing so as a chore; it appears that my bonds to Christianity are much weaker than I thought.
    Interestingly enough, I was never raised in a fire and brimstone church. Having gone to Catholic school in the 1990s, I don’t recall the topic of Hell being a major topic of discussion. It was only until I was in my late twenties, when I began to take Catholic doctrine to its’ logical conclusion, that I developed a real fear of Hell and began to go hard on Catholicism.
    I also took @kimberlysteele’s advice about exchanging energies with a tree. I did it, and it was quite nice!
    Thanks to everyone for your responses!

  24. Hello everybody, and thanks JMG for hosting this precious forum. I’m currently engaged in an initiatic group that wants to form “cultural psychopomps” to lift the souls of the people from this technoindustrial society to the ecotechnic societies of the future. Our group is largely influenced by JMG’s works, and would like to receive some comments and critics on the subjects covered during the initiatic process.

    The name is Wicca Dark Green, and it accepts anybody that wants to work with us through the initiations. The particularity of this group is the way of “repaying” the initiations. To be initiated, you must work on a project of knowledge, that could be really useful to you in the futur, and moreover to your descendants. But it could be a presentation of a technique or a piece of uncommon and important stuff, that you teaches the other people in the group.

    Sadly, many people started the path, and didn’t continued, due to this final requirement…

    If you want to know more, and giving us some good pieces of advice, please look at this article about the initiations:

    (in french only for the moment)

    But here is a summary of the initiations:

    0. Uses and misuses of Secret and Silence

    1. Ethics and Power (with an introduction to JK galbraith Anatomy of power, and non-violence)

    2. Scientific Method (the threefold method of knowledge construction, not the scientist mantra)

    3. Money (Egregores and talismanic ways of looking at the power of money)

    4. Covens (how and why to create a group, and how avoiding fatal errors, featuring Inside a Magical Lodge, by JMG =)

    5.Humor (it’s might in front of institutionnalised powers, and its ways of creating a window to breath in dire times)

    6. Magic (featuring Dion Fortune, of course,and Dominique Camus, Jeanne-Favret Saada, Ioan Petru Culiano and The myth of Cerberus and the Seeds)

    7. Wicca Dark Green (what means to be a Dark Green Wiccan, and the myth of the Chimera and the Dragon)

    After that, the initiate can take the way of the Warden (as described by JMG in on of his articles) to learn, maintain and teach some useful knowledge and technology that could be used with success in less extravagant times!

    We also ask our initiates to practice a martial art of self defense, such as krav maga, to be up to our standards of non-violence.

    Of course, it is not perfect, but we would be glad to have some of your thoughts on the subject!
    It is clear that it is influenced in a large part by JMG and Green Wizardry, and we thank you for that!

  25. Mr. Greer, I always wonder why you mention anthropogenic climate change and not other non-controversial problems like water pollution, piling up of plastic in the oceans, soil pollution, etc. Personally, I don’t think that climate change is fake, but given how controversial a topic it is, don’t you think that the critically important points you have made about peak oil, resource depletion and the ecological overshoot mode that modern industrial civilization is in would spread wider if you avoided mentioning climate change, and instead spoke about the above problems, for example, which are undeniable? I mean, these problems are created by the same factors which are responsible for anthropogenic climate change, right?

  26. Hi JMG,

    I remember once you mentioned that stoicism had helped you a lot through some difficult times in life. Could you please elaborate? Was it some specific books that you read?

    I find that stoicism could be very useful in this period of history but my knowledge is only limited to reading Meditations


  27. I just started reading a book by a First Nations Canadian author. An idea within her writings is that Native Americans’ cosmology and sense of time differs from our current Progress-centric world view, and that time is not linear. Therefore, present day Indians can live in a way that collapses the past and future when they re-acquaint themselves with the mythologies and narratives of their ancestors. In the present, Indigenous peoples can position themselves to live more like their ancestors regarding the rest of creation. This allows those living now to being to heal the world by beginning the work in the past.

    From an occult perspective is this possible. i.e… Could we “go back in time” and make nudges for better outcomes in the present? If it is possible, how would someone who is a displaced European for instance, find the way to affect the present from a place in the past regarding the Earth and the places we now live in North America, or wherever. Your teaching certainly provides a narrative of how to live in the world, but I have not (yet?) encountered the component of time and moving between past, present and future in yours or other’s writings.


  28. John (et al.)—

    As one who offended with re to the above-mentioned topic in last week’s post, I thank you for the guidelines this week.

    Two broader questions loom large for me right now, aside from my ongoing struggles of self-knowledge and the challenges of peering into the dark corners of my psyche.

    First, and touching on a comment you made on your other blog, how *does* one cultivate hope in a time of decline? I can see stoic equanimity. I can see detachment and acceptance. Those make sense. But how can hope during decline be anything but tragic?

    Second, I realize I have my ideals. I am an idealist. I tend to think in terms of abstract principles and mathematics. There are certain values I hold dear, particularly in terms of political philosophy but also elsewhere, and certain consequences flow from those values as a matter of sheer logic. How do I grapple (metaphorically, of course) with conditions which run counter to those values? Is acceptance of inevitable demise (however slow) the only way to sanely deal with this? My better half often refers to my apparent desire to “lop off” (as she puts it) emotional elements of existence, particularly when confronting difficult circumstances. (I’ll also note that Whomever She May Be also seems to be directing me toward dealing with the emotional world: the symbolism of the frog, among other things.) I’m really just trying to navigate things and remain intact. Being overwhelmed by emotional response to the point of impairing one’s rational judgement does not translate to “intact” as I see it. But I’m at a loss regarding how to avoid the brick walls I keep running into.

    As I mentioned in the previous discussion, I find myself oscillating between equanimity and frustration (despair?) as I watch everything slowly fall to pieces around me, knowing that future decades and centuries hold only more of the same, but faster and more intense. It is a hard thing, particularly knowing that we could (always) being doing a better job of navigating this terrain than we are.

    Re the previous question posed about reading material: I’m still working, but my two current books are Steiner’s Knowing Higher Worlds and Barborka’s Divine Plan, both of which I’m taking a bit at a time.

  29. A question out of curiosity: To what does a daily divination refer for those who currently are unable to leave their apartment? (That isn’t the case for me.)

  30. Just wanted to say, I really appreciate you breathing some life into political astrology: strikes me that the realization that politics is influenced by “the stars” would go a long way toward quieting the adamantine controversies over trifles or shallow, muddy waters. If you can cast for cities and nations, could you theoretically cast for regions or geographical areas, as well? I’ve heard of locational astrology, but I was thinking more of “regions” in the sense of “Basque country” or something like that.

  31. Asking for prayers (to whichever deity may be inclined to help) for this little goat kid in my lap today. Possibly premature, sibling was stillborn, mother is rather exhausted and not making enough milk, so this little one’s granddam is providing sustenance. I’ve gotten some colostrum in her (granny nanny kidded Sunday afternoon – healthy triplets) but she still can’t stand more than two hours after being born.

  32. When I saw it was Open Post week my first thought was that you were just letting folks run with the C.
    Much appreciation for nixing that conversation.

  33. I’ve been reading Wendell Berry and Vine DeLoria Jr a good bit lately. Together they got me thinking about land and spirits. There was I believe some talk of this on your other blog, in reference to the generations of living on land it takes to get spirits to take you as anything more than a passing breeze.

    But I wonder about the other side, I’ve always been rootless. I was born in the west, but I’ve lived decades in the south, half a decade in new england, three years in Mexico. I’ve never felt any particular pull to any place (except to sea, but living in a boat is not possible for me right now)… does that have spiritual consequences? Does rootlessness lead to disconnection from spiritual life? Is the emphasis on connection to land necessary? Certainly there have been wandering mystics and like, so it would seem the answer is probably not, or at least not for everyone, but I’d love to hear your take on this.

  34. Dear JMG –

    Regarding your recent astral chart. I’ve been thinking a lot about the solar eclipse a year or so ago and the next one that is coming in a few years. I feel like these are a powerful omen for the United States. The time between the two eclipses, I read as a bridge that we as a nation are on. The first eclipse signals everything that came before. The second eclipse is the gatekeeper meant to usher us into a new world that we may or may not like.

    A double eclipse is also intriguing from the standpoint that one sun is being put away, into a casket closed by the moon. And then another sun is reborn from the same grave years later. Reincarnation as it were. As souls are reincarnated I feel like this is a similar phenomenon for the world at large. Right now we as a culture are in the out of body phase contemplating a past life. This Coronavirus I feel like was something we bought on ourselves on a magical level, as a consequence of that past life.

    So when the next solar eclipse comes to pass, and we begin a cultural new life, it will be like our nation/culture are being put into a new body. I’d be interested to hear your take on this idea of cultural reincarnation….

    Personally, I feel like a big moment is coming for the United States.

    It’s not Trump’s reelection. (He’ll be reelected)
    It’s not the stock market crashing.
    It’s not the coronavirus.
    It’s not the Democrats getting their asses handed to them. (They will)
    It’s not defaulting on our debts.

    Idk what it is though.

  35. in response to waffles: the traditional idea of christian heaven/hell makes little sense if you consider it in the context of a loving god. it makes perfect sense if you analyze christianity as an all-encompassing system of social control. when the goal is to control the behavior of a naive, ignorant population, threats of eternal damnation can, history shows, be extremely effective. the new testament has a lot of nice content supposedly from jesus, and very little from saul of tarsus. the church that emerged a few generations later was a lot more saul and a lot less jesus. by the time theologians were telling serfs and, later, slaves that their duty as christians was to serve their masters loyally and industrially, jesus had pretty much left the building altogether. when preachers like creflo dollar extol the theology of wealth it’s fairly obvious that for many christians, the words of jesus are more of an annoyance than an inspiration.

  36. Did a Brooklyn to Nashville road trip in late May of last year. Since I was the driver, I asked that Pittsburgh and Cincinnati be our two stops on our way down south. Once in Pittsburgh, I made it a point to do one of my favorite things, I walked into random churches that I knew would be empty. I was staying downtown and being an early bird, I found exactly what I was looking for and more.

    In the first church, it was more castle or armory in feel and structure and on the wall far above the altar were the words ‘Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott’ which at the time, I had no idea what it meant. I spoke German in kindergarten but have since long lost the facility. For what ever reason, I looked this up the other day and it made all the sense in the world. I had to laugh…

    The next church I went into was more in line with my Catholic up bringing except it had a rectory offshoot and one lonely soul holding it down. The room looked like it could hold soup kitchens or what have you. There was a water stained piece of paper tapped to the wall with this written upon it;

    ‘I am about to do a new thing, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?’

    I think about this even more so these days, the need to do a new thing…

  37. Rajat,
    I am also interested in our host talking about ecological overshoot outside of CC.
    I noticed that CC and deniers are playing a ritual theater (idea I found from JMG).

    The CC manipulators are people that are trying to push their ideology or business using CC as an excuse. It works because CC is a global problem so it’s easy to blame on corporations or China or whatever.
    The CC deniers also love it – it’s relatively abstract and there are always paid shills willing to say that it doesn’t happen.Who’s to say that is warmer now than during the medieval warm period?

    The reality is that most of the damage we did to the ecosphere up to know is not from CC. Pollution, soil erosion, habitat destruction etc are very concrete and we all can do something about it. That’s the reason that they are mostly ignored.
    By the same token even partial solutions for CC are ignored if they are local and require direct participation – for example painting your roof white or not driving.


  38. @ David by the Lake,

    This sentence jumped out at me from your post: “Being overwhelmed by emotional response to the point of impairing one’s rational judgement does not translate to “intact” as I see it.”

    Does it really matter if your rational judgement is impaired at times so that you can fully let yourself feel your emotions? Why is rational judgement to be prioritised over experiencing emotions and responding accordingly? Of course I’m not talking about getting in a rage and acting out physical violence against people, but I think there is a balance to be found here between rationality and emotional responsiveness.

    I think slowly accepting the inevitable demise of so much we hold dear, including ourselves and our civilisation, is definitely a good idea. I would call it grieving.


  39. KayeOh–on Native American religion I recommend Vine Deloria’s _God is Red_ . One point he makes is that NA peoples focus on place rather than time–that hill is where Culture Hero killed the monster, this lake is the tears shed by the monster’s mother, and so forth–rather than time and history. He has an entire chapter about NA attitudes towards death–applicable to the forbidden topic. Should be available in libraries–the 2003 edition has some added material, but an older edition is probably adequate for the main ideas and arguments.


  40. Brother,

    I am new to your Work, and I recently read in “Circles of Power” that crossing through Da’ath isn’t commonplace. And so, it has prompted me to leave this comment.

    It’s naturally difficult to find credible sources relating to those who have taken (or on Path of) the Middle Way. Yet, to know that there ARE Sources, both seen and “unseen”, are available provides encouragement.

    What a great responsibility it is to share information and knowledge, with the potential of it being distorted or misused in some way by the recipient (whether intentionally or not). A fine balance to maintain.

    Thank you for your courage and determination in sharing your Truth in Good Faith.

    I look forward to your “Sacred Geometry” card deck being released via Amazon soon.

    Yours in Light ~ •

  41. I have a bunch of seeds — both vegetables and herbs that I’ve saved from my garden and have extra from prior years, that I’d be absolutely delighted to send folks in the mails for free. Please send me an email at if you wish to fill out your seed collection!

  42. I have two things to discuss:

    1) The 20th century may have been faster due to Pluto. It transforms whatever it touches, so it makes sense then that having it active would lead to fast er change; likewise, history has moved faster since the late 1700s than earlier.

    2) On Magic Monday someone asked about the SoP, and you said you need to do them in the order given. This surprised me, since I do it facing east, and then work with air; turn south to work with fire; then west for water; then north for Earth. Am I doing something wrong?

  43. 3) I’ve split this in case it’s too close to the epidemic, but do you have advice for people who are watching people melt down and is surprised at how quickly it happened, and how minor the trigger is?

  44. I want to ask Cristophe (from comment threads in more than one post) to explain what “muscle testing” is and how it is done.

  45. The question in the last comment post about reading matter (apologies for bad memory)… Just now, although I am also the type of reader that usually has several books on the go, the one I am thoroughly enjoying is E P Thompson’s “The Making of the English Working Class”… an excellent history on the catastrophic effects of the Industrial Revolution for many of those who experienced it (and arguably, still are). And a useful history of their various responses…

  46. Dear JMG,

    Encouraged by your advice to read an old book I chose Panpaedia by Comenius (translation into Czech published in 1948). I chose the book partly because I attempted to read it several years ago and it proved too challenging for me to finish and partly because I am a teacher and I felt I should know the text.

    My “modern” way of thinking was sometimes standing in the way of understanding the writer’s intent; but this time I was determined to understand. So whenever I felt I was angry as my reading mirrored my own (not very good) assumptions, I slowed down and tried to imagine another, different, deeper meaning, which didn’t make me angry.

    As I proceeded with the text, some concepts seemed familiar – they reminded me of the thoughts I found in your “Paths of Wisdom”! I remember from high school that Comenius lived around the time of Renaissance, so I was wondering; could there be a connection to magic?

    I was kind of skeptical – we were memorizing facts about his life and names of his books at school during the Czech language lessons for quite a long time and (surprisingly?:-)) nothing remotely connected to magic was mentioned. But I was also strangely excited so I searched on Wikipedia. And found that Comenius read the Rosicrucian manifesto Fama Fraternitatis in 1612. But the manifesto was published in 1614! Well, it’s Wikipedia, it does not have to be accurate… Still, the text was written before it was published and it is possible Comenius was able to read it before its publishing, isn’t it?

    I feel amused by the ways I learn, but also ashamed of my ignorance. Yet I am glad I finally got to read Comenius’ book – and thank you for the inspiration and motivation!

    With regards,

  47. @ Doodily Do,

    I’ve noticed for years that our society and people appear to be stupider and stupider. At first I thought it might be something that was added to the water or our coffee. (Tea drinkers such as this forum’s host appear to be immune.) But I realize it’s more than that. A lot of people were running around with “wands” 10 to 20 years ago, and one of the “spells” was “stupefy”. So people seem to have been stupidified as a result, possibly the only magic gotten approximately right in the Harry Potter books.

    More seriously, I enjoyed the article you linked to and think that many people have lost the ability or desire to think, for whatever reason. Overuse of drugs for ADHD, declining academic standards, these are the two items at the top of my list.


  48. Before I go on, I’ve just deleted three attempted comments that referred to the Subject We Are Not Talking About. Yes, I’m quite serious about that exclusion.

    Now, on to the comments that didn’t make that faux pas…

    JAD, what? No, I didn’t say anything even remotely like that. I said that in some cases, people who are addicted to pornography may be being pushed toward that addiction by parasitic spirits. What happens to you after you die is a very complex matter, and depends on the whole shape of your life, not on one single habit — and the whole notion of Hell is to my mind one of the most evil notions ever foisted off on our species. (“Do what the preacher tells you or God will beat you up for the rest of eternity” is not the basis of any sane morality.)

    Someone, say silently to yourself the sentence “one plus one equals two.” Then imagine the same sentence written out. Those para-sensory experiences are astral. Now think about what that sentence means — the meaning is on the mental plane. If you need help getting the difference, consider someone who speaks no English who is taught to speak and write those words without knowing what they mean — that’s a wholly astral experience — and think about what connects the English sentence “one plus one equals two” with “一加一等于 2,” which is the same thing in Chinese; the meaning these have in common belongs to the mental plane.

    NomadicBeer, absolutely. Real political change only comes from the grassroots; as long as people sit around on their plump pink rumps waiting for someone else to save them, you can bet your last dollar that they will not be saved. As for rigid repetition of behavior patterns, that’s usually the last stage before a nervous breakdown, which I expect to see a lot of in the months ahead.

    Coop Janitor, yes, he’s something like Justin Martense’s sixth cousin once removed, a member of one of the old Dutch families of upstate New York.

    Sue, a very large part of it is a function of weird brain wiring, as I have Aspergers syndrome. Your ordinary human brain has a mass of neurons called “mirror neurons” that have the function of mirroring, from nonverbal cues, what the people around you are feeling and (to some extent) thinking. In the brain of someone with Aspergers syndrome, those neurons never got that memo, and so are free for other modes of processing. That means I literally have no idea what people’s facial expressions and body language mean, and let’s not even talk about social cues and nonverbal hints — but it also means that those neurons can go to work doing other things, like studying obscure occult tomes and coming up with the plots and characters of novels.

    That, not watching TV, and not really wanting much of a social life (another common Aspergers syndrome thing) are basically the things responsible. Sorry not to be more helpful!

    Izzy, er, what? (Speaking of not picking up on things…)

    Varun, nope. Let’s take a break from the entire subject and all its ramifications for a week.

    Wesley, India is one model of what some ecotechnic societies might look like. Cultural factors are as important in this as in all other such issues, and there’s no one-size-fits-all model.

  49. Hi John,

    I have a couple of questions about our Dion Fortune.

    – How does the Cos.Doc. correspond to the Tree of Life? Meaning, the different parts of the tree in relation to the rings and rays?
    – I vaguely remember one of her remarks on the racial distinctions in the British Isles, did she consider the British of the “Keltic” or Germanic stock?
    – Is it true that she was capable of doing astral projection while walking at the same time? I read it long time ago by someone but haven’t come across that in any of her books I’ve read so far or any other liable source.

    I could talk all day about the High Priestess of Our Lady Selene, but let’s have it at that.


  50. I’m off from work for a while (at least mid-April) and have been thoroughly enjoying the leisure. One of the things I’ve noticed is the weather is rather like what it was when I was a child (during the time of the dinosaurs). The skies are clear rather than hazy, when there are clouds they are fully formed and of different types (cumulus, etc). It is a joy to be outside now. The air feels fresh. It appears that the poison planes that stripe the sky have been grounded. Yay!!

  51. @NomadicBeer –

    I think it’s simply the bell curve of Progress; the 20th century included the steepest part of it and we’re at the plateau right now.

  52. JMG,

    I’ve long been a tad confused about the cause-and-effect relation between the Subtle Worlds and our material earth. On one hand, there’s E Swedenborg’s 1740’s vision in which the Book of Revelation’s Apocalypse actually occurred, but it occurred in the upper planes, not on the material earth as most Christians would have expected – evidently, as Swedenborg understood it, it was a comprehensive cleansing of accrued astral miasma that had been blocking the infusion of Divine Light re our material earth. Sure enough, relatively soon thereafter came the American Revolution, the first stirrings of the anti-slavery mvts, scientific breakthroughs, etc. It would appear that Swedenborg was correct in his vision of an upper-planes Apocalypse, one that had a direct effect on material earth.

    On the other hand, I once read that earthquakes can cause shiftings, if not a degree of turbulence in the Subtle Worlds. Or is it that humans generate astral miasma in the upper-planes, which then in turn result in earthquakes or say, the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic (I’m not mentioning any current epidemics) or other such calamitous natural disasters? I realize that the give-and-take relation between the Subtle Worlds and our material earth is a good deal more complex than what I’ve outlined, but I’d appreciate any clarification re the relation you can offer. Thank you!

  53. Mr. Greer, I was wondering if you saw my last comment on the last page regarding how much of contemporary “woke” discourse can be traced back to the original New Left of the 60s and 70s?

  54. What are your experiences with different methods of manifesting the spirit in evocation? For example, differences in results with the visualization method in CGD, vs magic mirror in Circles, vs evocation to visible appearance?

  55. On mundane astrology: how do you interpret horoscopes of countries that have very similar charts, but different politics? I tried Italy and Austria last week, among others. All house cusps are placed in the same signs, and all planets in the same houses, except that Venus is in House II for Austria and in III for Italy.

    Astrology as divination: My failed calculation of those two charts came out as an interesting experience. The spontaneous reading I posted felt just like Ogham or Geomancy. But then, the corrected chart I did later doesn’t tell me anything. Is this a plain stupid mistake, or is there any value in the first reading – as of course, it is based on knowledge and assumptions external to astrology?

  56. Andrew, WorldReader is a charity that works to increase literacy in children who have few resources. I’ve used that before for Mercury workings

  57. Hi JMG, probably a silly question but what does druidry outside the northern temperate latitudes look like? As far as I can tell there is a focus around the changing of the seasons and relationships to the natural world, and I see it as inherently having a local focus and therefore would look very different in an equatorial climate or even in the southern hemisphere (where I live). What does a tropical druid look like? Does a tropical druid welcome the first breeze of the monsoon as a temperate druid welcomes the first bud of spring? Although we follow the regular calendar down here in southern australia the seasons don’t really fit it and we definitely match up better with the traditional first nations six seasons than the northern four. I’m assuming like the natural world druidry adapts to its local conditions with no dogma?

  58. Dear everyone,

    I’m thrilled to be able to announce the publication of my first short story collection, Shifted Visions. Well, it’s my first stand-alone anything, actually! It features five four stories of varying length. I wrote, edited, designed, and formatted the whole thing myself (that’s a perk, not a bug – I have high standards!). It’s currently whirring its way through the electronic-ethers of various platforms, is available on some, and will be available in the next day or two on others. Both print and ebook versions are or will be available by following the link at the bottom of this post.

    I’m categorizing it as fantasy with a magical realism and mythic fiction streak. It’s a short read but perhaps it’ll allow you to pass some time pleasurably. Here’s the blurb:

    Shifted Visions

    Not everything is as it appears…
    and what appears will shift everything.

    From a river-shore park in the heat of summer to the stillness of a dense, ancient forest; on an early commute or at the door of a hardscrabble apartment, five striving, committed people find their lives turned upside down when the impossible intrudes on reality.

    A bored civil servant tries to spice up the daily grind and accidentally invokes an out-of-practice trickster-god…

    An up-and-coming intern’s likely promotion threatens her link with an affirming and mysterious apparition…

    A lonely man, consumed by emptiness, meets a miracle-working woman who quotes Mother Goose and requires his most closely guarded secret…

    A devout acolyte undertakes her order’s sacred pilgrimage and goes astray into an encounter with the profane…

    …each must decide whether or not to trust their senses, and each must make a life-altering choice.

    This debut collection reminds us of the unpredictable, wondrous things hidden in plain sight—if only we awaken to the moment’s ability to shift our perspective.


    JMG, I’d like to offer you a copy if you’re interested, especially given how freely you share your work with all of us. I can easily email an electronic version (epub/mobi) or, when they’re ready, a paperback. If you are interested, please let me know where to send it!


    Link (that lists current ebook offerings and that will be updated when new ones come online) HERE.

    Currently, print is only available from Amazon, but eventually it’ll be available through Barnes&Noble too.

    I hope you enjoy it!

  59. To you and Sven, if he’s reading–

    How is the Heathen Golden Dawn project coming?

    One or two Magic Mondays ago, someone asked about the assignments of the heathen Gods to the Tree of Life. Try as I might, I can’t find it on the Dreamwidth. If I remember rightly, it went–

    1. Odin
    2. Thor
    3. Frigga
    4. Frey
    5. Tyr
    6. Baldur
    7. Saga
    8. Loki
    9. Heimdall/Freya
    10. Idun

    And speaking of the Golden Dawn and the Tree of Life, in most versions of the Middle Pillar you give, each sphere has a color and an image– natural images in the case of the Celtic Golden Dawn, runes in the Heathen Middle Pillar. Are there images of that sort that can be used along with the Hebrew God-Names in the Hermetic version of the ritual?

  60. Michelle (& everyone),

    What can you plant sage near that won’t be harmed by that toxin its roots put out? I keep starting sage in pots, but losing it over the winter (I guess it doesn’t like overwintering indoors). I’d like to plant it outside but after it killed another herb it was next to (I think it was oregano), and then a cucumber plant, I’ve been hesitating…what can tolerate it?

  61. Dear JMG and Commentariat,
    This is more suitable for a Magic Monday but I missed asking it. First, I have heard that people may be having more than one life at a time and I suspect this may be true as I met a young Golden Dawn/Druid here on my little island who talks a lot like you and looks quite like you. He has a very handsome, very Victorian, red beard and he is terribly knowledgeable and passionate about magic.

    On the 19th March which was the actual spring equinox, I greeted him with, “happy Spring Equinox,” and he politely returned my greeting but corrected me in that we were to celebrate it on the 21 of March which I did. We had a lovely sunny warm day and the gift of the violet green swallows come home.

    So, my question is, if the equinox lands on the 19th, why do we celebrate it on the 21st?

    Kindest regards,
    Maxine Rogers

  62. For Violet,

    Do you know about Wwoof?

    I’ve only ever Wwoofed (for it is a verb also), in the UK, but I’m sure the US version is well subscribed. There is a directory of organic farms on which you can volunteer on set terms and conditions (board and lodging for set hours of work).

  63. Seeing as I complete missed the boat on last weeks chart discussion and it being railroaded into a specific topic, I would like to point out one prediction from your Libra Ingress 2019 post that was completely ignored last week.

    To quote you – “The entertainment industry will by and large be prosperous, since Jupiter rules the cusp of the 5th house—the house that governs that industry—but there will be some seriously bad news in some part of the industry, as shown by Saturn in that house. It might just be another round of expensive movies that don’t make money, but I suspect it’s more than that—for example, the bankruptcy of a major Hollywood firm.”

    I won’t mention the currently very popular’c word’ here but this was a big hit as far as I’m concerned. Many movie studios have either delayed their big blockbusters until next year or have completely written them off costing the industry billions of dollars.

    So kudos to you on a good job on that one.

  64. Responding to Darkest Yorkshire

    I have tried Aniracetam, Piracetam, Oxiracetam, Noopept, and Adrafinil – none of them worked on me!

    The two things that have worked:

    Methylfolate (I know, not a nootropic) – very effective for keeping my depression within bearable bounds. Only time it stops working is when I get ill, say with a cold or flu.

    Agmatine Sulfate – I have Aspergers, anxiety, and depression. Agmatine Sulfate seems to calm me down enough that regular social interaction becomes much easier. Sometimes I almost enjoy it 😄!

  65. @jaylo,

    I think you’re distorting the facts when you try to claim that Jesus taught a loving and comfortable religion that was corrupted by Paul. Truth is, you can find damnation in Jesus: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire…” and lovingkindness in Paul: “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance….”

    I don’t think there’s any angle that you can look at the Abrahamic religions – putting Jesus, Paul, Isaiah, Moses, Mohamed, or whoever else front and center – that lets you out of paying due heed to Divine Wrath, though you may disagree on the setting and duration – the Old Testament tends to focus on earthly punishments (i.e. you’ll die in famine or war and birds will eat your carcass), and different Christians disagree on whether “aeon” in the New Testament should mean “a long time” or “forever and ever and ever.”

    Then there is, of course, disagreement on what acts are most likely to incur the wrath. In some brands of Christianity, it really is as bad as our host’s caricature: “Do what the preacher tells you or God will beat you up for the rest of eternity.”

    I personally think that Jesus himself was most angered by people who neglected the poor and didn’t about the condition of those less well-off than themselves, i.e. “I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat…” And I think that his parable about some people getting “many stripes” and some getting “few stripes” means that the idea of a clean heaven/hell divide is simply wrong, and that the real afterlife is much more complicated.

    But that’s just the opinion of this one (rather eccentric) Christian.

  66. Michelle,

    My garlic is also coming up. I’ve started kale, lettuce, cardoon, and a few wildflowers. Kale is coming up swimmingly, with a 99% germ rate so far.
    Next week I’ll start the tomatoes 🙂 Most of the rest will probably be direct sown (beans, curbits, carrots etc)
    Still waiting to pick up my seed potatoes.

    I have some rotted manure and compost that still needs to go out, just waiting for the beds to dry out a bit first. After that, it’ll be time to sow the radishes!

    The robins are out, the bunnies are frolicking , the worms are getting hungrier and I have a woodpecker that has moved in over the winter…

    Happy gardening!

  67. Your sequence on the Kek Wars led to you describing the emergence of The Changer and I took that very literally at the time as meaning a specific person. Now, though, in light of so many recent events (not just the thing-that-shall-not-be-discussed) we’re all beginning to see that not everything is down to an individual with an unusually orange complexion.

    Fake news, including as given in the mainstream media (especially?), is increasingly being seen through, as is the cui bono of the never ending regime-change wars, corporate greed and how people’s lives are being consumed by bs jobs to enable them to buy more and more gew-gaws in a vicious circle of pointlessness while resource depletion and planetary destruction run amok.

    I can’t help thinking that this is just a sneak preview of what’s to come once the Grand Mutation gets underway – that not so far in the future we’ll look back at the period from WW2 to the end of 2019 as the weirdest time and way of doing things.

    I live about ten miles from a major international airport and the drop in noise means I can now hear the birdsong and the skies above are perfectly blue with no contrails. This kind of turns on its head what Joni Mitchell meant when she sang “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

    Maybe the real change will be when the majority realizes that reducing the complexity of our modern lives doesn’t have to be bleak; it comes with sizable benefits, too.

  68. This might be a good time to reflect on how many economic activities are, to quote the title of a recent book, “BS jobs.” Put it another way: If everyone were physically, mentally and spiritually healthy, what king of economy would we be living in? If we had no insecurities, or more realistically, immune from having our insecurities exploited, how much advertising and products would fall by the wayside? If we got over our sugar/corn oil addictions and ate healthily, would there be a lot less processed foods and a lot more permaculture? If our hearts could beat faster at the gorgeous contours of the soul, as much as ithey do at those of the body, how would our society be different? Would 99% of school-based education implode? Would people be fully-functioning adults by 14?

    Or will the cussedness of human nature be always with us? Will people continue to be tribal in a bad way and one-upping or reacting to be one-upped? Are we subject to what I call Hanson’s Tragedy (from Jay Hanson of Hanson’s Tragedy: One the one hand, we are evolutionarily programmed to maximize their control of energy in order to attract mates. On the other hand, resources are finite. Tragedy ensues. It reminds me of the sci-fi story, “The Moe In God’s Eye.” Spoiler alert: The Moties have to be pregnant or they die, the sci-fi analog of us having to be high staus or we psychologically die.

    FWIW, being genuinely good at something you love can make status chasing seem very puerile.

  69. A question that’s been eating me lately that may be of interest to readers of this blog: Is it wrong to not want to see technology advance? Obviously a lot of people here believe that progress is hitting a wall as we head towards collapse. I’m agnostic about all that but I’m wondering if it’s wrong to *want* to see science falter. Because I generally find myself thinking that way, and viewing news on scientific advances with a sense of dread. I can basically come up with four reasons why this is:

    One: A lot of potential advances are bad and scary. Electronic surveillance, superweapons, that sort of thing.

    Two: A lot of potential advances are not obviously bad, but they would so fundamentally change mankind that they’re pretty disturbing anyway when you really think about them. Most of this stuff is just dreams of futurists- stuff like clinical immortality, trans-humanism, A.I. Most of these advances aren’t very plausible but even a few steps down one of these roads could have scary consequences.

    Three: It is possible to have too much of a good thing. Our lives are enormously nicer and easier then our ancestors’ but we do pay a price for that- lack of connection to nature, lack of community, decline of spirituality, general malaise. Some people dream of creating awesome A.I. and eliminating work but that could make humans obsolete. It’s hard to explain why this one disturbs me but I do worry we’re headed towards a society like the one in Wall-E.

    Four: New technologies will increase the influence and authority of scientists and technology companies. As one possible example of this being a problem: people generally agree that genetic engineering on humans is wrong but we allow it for other things. But if scientists can boast of successes in genetically modifying animals then resistance to genetically modifying people will probably wear down. Of course this is just one example.

    With all that being said, I do understand that there is a lot of suffering in the world and that science provides our best chance of ending much of it. And if the choices are between technological advancement and collapse of course it would be cruel to hope for collapse. But I can’t help it; technology scares me.

    I think most people here view big future-tech projects- like fusion- as doomed from the start. But does anyone else find they *want* them to fail? And are there reasonable reasons to feel that way, or is it crazy and cruel?

  70. @ Darkest Yorkshire: “what do you think of nootropics? If you’ve tried them, what effects did you get?”

    I experimented with these back in the mid 90s, primarily with piracetam. What they helped me discover was that I’ve had a cortical dysplasia since I was in utero resulting in low-grade (and occasionally not-so-low-grade) temporal lobe seizures. They helped me discover this by lowering my seizure threshold. Not sure if they ever boosted my intelligence, whatever that term even means, a vagueness our host has pointed out before.

    Honestly, turning off my TV and reading a wide variety of books, oftentimes old, big, or challenging, has improved what I would consider my intelligence more than any pharmaceutical.

  71. JMG: You may recall my thanking you for pointing me to ‘The Age of Optimism’ by James Laver. Because of that, my husband made the connection between Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Links’ and the crime (Marguerite Steinheil) that inspired her.

    We have the finished book available and Bill did a lovely job.

    We want to mail you a trade paperback copy to express our appreciation for helping us solve the mystery. You can email me at tdbpeschel at symbol so I can arrange shipping you a copy. Wait till you see that lurid French cartoon about Ms. Steinheil and the president of France!

    Thank you again. Your serendipitous contribution made ‘The Complete, Annotated Murder on the Links’ a much better book.

    If anyone else is interested, visit us at for more information.

  72. @ ChristineS

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. I will answer as best I can.

    Being overwhelmed by emotional response equates to being “out of control” and while it may be a result of having grown up in a career military family (father, 24 years in the US Navy), “out of control” is a Bad Thing. One is safe when one is in control, particularly of oneself. I know better than to try to control other people–individual freedom is something I prize highly–but controlling myself and knowing what is going on around me (physically and metaphysically) is important. Hence the quest for knowledge.

    It’s not that I don’t want to feel emotions (no Radiant adept here), but they should be kept in bounds. And to the degree a high-pass filter could be applied (letting the good stuff through while blocking the bad stuff), all the better. (My wife, who’s very much an intuitive, does tell me it doesn’t work like that.) For a long time, I’ve seen emotions like spices: without them life would be very bland indeed. However, like spices, they flavor existence, but are not of themselves (nutritive) substance. It’s the higher faculties of Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding (all appropriately capitalized) that I’ve sought all these years. With some spice thrown in, yes.

    Now, of course, I’m trying to comprehend and integrate the direction I’ve been getting (from multiple sources) that I need to delve into this uncontrolled, emotional subconscious realm (Ye gods! Who knows what danger swims in those depths!) and that this is a core component of my path. (“You are not here to do Great Things,” Whomever She May Be told me. “You are here to develop your soul.”) ‘Tis a frustrating thing. I’m already behind and I’m never going to get all these books read and all this knowledge assimilated as it is.

    As to grieving, I understand that. We’re creatures of autumn this time around, not of spring. We don’t get to see the flowering of this civilization’s learning; we will be witness, rather, to its decline and decay. I’d also like to not spend my entire existence here grieving. Grieving is part of the human condition. I understand that, too. But the point of all of this training, this seeking, this esoteric work, is to transcend the human condition, to become more than we are, to optimize our potential.

    One image that came to me during a recent meditation was of me as a child (about four or five years old) picking up a calculus text and asking my dad to teach me what it all meant. (Heck, this might have been an actual memory, for all I know. Something like that very well could have happened.) This illustrates my dilemma very well: I’m asking for more than I’m capable of understanding. Doesn’t change the fact that I want to be that five year-old who knows calculus. That’s the whole point, in fact.

  73. I’ve been pondering recently the inane obsession our society has with countable/quantifiable things, to the (almost absolute) exclusion of all other factors, despite those other factors being the vast majority of our reality.

    After some googling this morning I found there is a word for this:

    > quantomania: a focus on countable, measurable entities to the exclusion of other factors.

    But unfortunately further searching did not turn up any useful discussion.

    I recall reading a UK newspaper column in the mid nineties from a politician bemoaning this as something that was becoming a prevalent problem. And nowadays it seems to have eclipsed all other foundations as the basis for thought and decisions. Perhaps not coincidentally there appears to me a strong correlation with computing power and the ability to manipulate vast amounts of (ultimately meaningless) data.

    Do you have any thoughts about this? Is it simply a symptom of the focus on extreme reductive rationalism? Or one of the (dare I say) unique pathologies of this society?

  74. John, I’ve been meditating on your advice to “collapse now and avoid the rush.” The most difficult part of this is a change of heart and mind. Anytime I think about selling the only car I have, I feel that I may regret putting myself and my family at a disadvantage economically and socially. Is this because I haven’t fully deconstructed the modern myth of progress and adopted a new way? It may be that “rush now, avoid the collapse” falls into the same traps as apocalyptic thinking. Can one go too far with your advice?

  75. It’s not Magic Monday, but I felt the need to report a breakthrough I never expected. And I think the regime I’m under on a closed-down campus were we eat what is given to us, there is plenty of silence and solitude, and where walking outdoors has become the best form of exercise and recreation.

    I have always had plenty of nervous energy, but except for brief bursts of adrenaline-driven activity, which always resulted in a backlash of exhaustion, I have never been able to turn it into physical energy. But on waking this morning, after a vivid dream I took control of at the end and told someone in it I was calling a halt right now,I was full of nervous energy, knew it, and – for the first time in my life – immediately identified it as Air Energy unmistakably Air. So strong that at meditation, as soon as I sat down and lit the candle, I was Told to ground and center and nothing else. And did so, with limited success.

    Then went straight into my morning routine – with a major bit of seasonal bed making included – and right out into my morning walk much earlier than usual, with a detour to stuff a large comforter into the washing machine in the laundry room. And walked twice as far as usual, and more, detouring on an errand, going up and down stairs instead of using the elevator (except when I was hauling the comforter around) and in general, going good and strong.

    That nervous energy transmuted into physical energy like motor fuel. Not rocket fuel. And my appetite has been way up these days as well. Slept well at nap and woke up refreshed and still going strong. And that is a huge breakthrough.

    For what it’s worth, I’m a Capricorn with Cap rising, progressed sun in Aries, went into a rationalist mode (Air) around the first Saturn return and into the pursuit of magic and Wicca around the time of my second, and felt very much like a person of Water then. Fire? Never happened. Make of that what you will.


  76. Some of you may have heard some of the wild stories I’ve shared around here over the last few years, but recently I decided to reignite my blogging efforts with a more focused collection of these weird tales.

    The first two are up and ready for your enjoyment:


  77. I was planning a trip to Europe and I ran across something that said that the “White Magic Triangle” cities are Lyon, Prague & Turin, while the “Black Magic Triangle” cities are London, Turin and San Francisco. Sounds to me like something cooked up by a canny tour guide in Turin. Ever heard of it?

  78. I promise, my manuscript editing is better than my post editing. That should’ve read: five stories. There was a moment when I’d typed “four stories and one poem”… but the poem is a story too, so you saw me mid-correction.

  79. Thank you for your first reply this Magic Monday, about focus of will. I needed a reminder to concentrate on what matters now: getting rid of that infection which won’t go away. But then, apart doing your treatments and asking professionals for advice, I guess there is only so much that Will can do in terms of health?

  80. Yorkshire, I had to look up the term. I’ve never tried them.

    Phutatorius, a Buddhist Sphere of Protection would be the easiest thing in the world. Choose six bodhisattvas or buddhas that work with the symbolism of the directions and you’re good to go. For example, in Shingon Buddhism there are five Dhyani Buddhas who are very often invoked together; add the historical Shakyamuni Buddha and you have:

    East: Akshobhya Buddha
    West: Amitabha Buddha
    South: Ratnasambhava Buddha
    North: Amoghasiddhi Buddha
    Below: Shakyamuni Buddha
    Above: Vairocana Buddha

    You can read more about them here if you’re interested.

    David, of course it works both ways, and just as we’re constantly reaching out to the world — consciously or otherwise — the world is just as consciously reaching out to us. As for how to differentiate, that’s one of the things daily meditation is good for.

    Jbucks, I want to see a good critical review of the study cited in the Guardian. I could be wrong, but it smells like one of those “studies” that were created for PR purposes.

    Patricia M, thank you! This is great.

    Paul, I can’t read his mind, you know.

    Michelle, delighted to hear it!

    Daniel, those are good investments to make. I’m in a similar situation — a lot of the quiet ordinary preparations I’ve been making for years have all come together to make the current situation much easier than it would otherwise be.

    Irena, I don’t really have any examples to offer, because I keep track of astrology on an ongoing basis and so that’s always a background for my predictive thinking. Whatever the situation is, there are various historical examples that can be used to make sense of it, and the astrological conditions are part of the framing I use to choose which example I take as a primary guide to the future.

    Elizabeth, I know practically nothing about that subject, so my only suggestion is to have fun and see where the learning process takes you!

    Doodily, human beings aren’t very smart; that’s just one of the facts of life we all live with. So far there have only been three people who tried to post something about The Thing We’re Not Discussing This Week, and those were right off the bat — I get that reliably any time I forbid something, and expect it, because it’s typical social primate behavior, the sort of thing you see in any troop of baboons. So I haven’t noticed any increase in stupidity, just the normal low standard set by a not very bright species.

    Denys, you’re welcome. As for the annoyance, there’s not much you can do; people — especially, ahem, men of a certain class — too often treat the notion that somebody else knows more than they do as an affront to their ego. All you can do is roll your eyes and go talk to people who are interested in learning what you have to teach. Thus I’d recommend that you relaunch the homeschooling blog, for the benefit of those who are smart enough to benefit from it.

    I haven’t had a lot of trouble with that sort of ego clash in Druidry, but when it comes to magic — hoo boy. Your average clueless beginner in magic assumes, as a matter of course, that whatever notions about magic he’s picked up from the mass media and the zeitgeist are of course just as good as the actual teachings of occult philosophy, and gets belligerent when you fail to agree with that assessment. That’s one of the reasons I no longer take personal students — that and the fact that nearly all the people who claimed they wanted to study with me weren’t interested in doing the work of learning magic — they just wanted to swagger it around a dozen internet friends as the personal student of You Know Who. It got profoundly dull very quickly.

    Christopher, it really is good to see.

    Andrew, (1) I suspect it happens fairly often. (2) I tend to recommend wolf sanctuaries and veteran’s homes as Mars charities, and dog shelters and children’s literacy programs as Mercury charities. Donating to my blog isn’t a charity, though I certainly won’t discourage you from doing so. (3) I’ve never encountered that before. Do you end up feeling tired or ill after it happens?

    BCV, all mammals have the brain structures that mediate emotions in human beings, so it makes perfect sense to me that dogs can become depressed.

    Thomas, hmm! An interesting project — I hope it thrives.

    Rajat, that’s an interesting suggestion, and one that I’ll consider.

    Angel, the book that really helped me is the Enchiridion (that’s Greek for “handbook”) of Epictetus, which is available free on the internet here, among other places. Here’s a sample:

    “Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things. Death, for instance, is not terrible, else it would have appeared so to Socrates. But the terror consists in our notion of death that it is terrible. When therefore we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never attribute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own principles.”

    KayeOh, time is a really complex thing, and the Native American teachings are quite correct that it’s not the uniform linear movement that Western societies like to think it is. That said, how sure are you that you know enough to be able to tinker intelligently with the past?

    John B, thanks for this! I have to admit that ‘The Cocaine Hippos” sounds like a band name…

    David BTL, a lot depends on your definition of hope. I discussed that some years back in this Archdruid Report post; hope is simply the recognition that no matter how bad things get, it’s always possible to do something to improve them. It is emphatically not the belief that you’re always going to get what you want out of the universe! As for what to do when things don’t go the way you want, well, here again, ain’t nobody promised you that you would…

    Booklover, did you think that people who stay home all day just sit there in a coma, doing nothing?

    Arkansas, in theory, that ought to be possible, but as far as I know nobody’s worked out the details.

    Dfr1973, on their way!

    JustMe, you’re most welcome. I think we’ve all had that talked to death by this point.

    Sng, an ancestral connection to the land is certainly not the only way to have a spiritual life; it’s simply one ingredient in one aspect of spirituality, and it may not be an aspect you need to develop in this incarnation.

    Porcupine, if that’s so, then it’s something that’s always happening, because solar eclipses normally run in pairs or small groups. That said, an analysis of repeated eclipses with that in mind might be well worth exploring.

    Jeff, thanks for this!

    Tanya, you’re most welcome and thank you.

    Kevin, (1) that’s an interesting possibility. (2), Nah, you’ve misunderstood what I was saying. There’s one order in which the elements are introduced (E-W-S-N) and another in which they’re done after they’ve been introduced (E-S-W-N). The person I was correcting wanted to do it S-W-N-E.

  81. Michael Ian Grey, I’m thinking that Saturn in the 5th of the Ingress chart probably also applies to our sports franchises, NBA and MLB specifically, whose seasons are at best postponed with a lotta lost 💵 – they are part of Big Entertainment after all.

  82. Hello JMG,

    This question does include the word [DELETED,] but it’s not about it. Of course, feel free to delete anyway if you want to be stringent. Basically, the way the [DELETED] has been reported in the media has really frustrated me, and has led to me having some sharp arguments with people I know. I’ve found this arguments have been really unproductive, and this has led me to wonder, in general: how can one know when it’s worth while to disagree with someone, or “start” a discussion/argument? Is it something one should try to refrain from as much as possible, reserving to close and trusted friends? Is spending time on the Internet arguing with people on message boards or social media just a waste of time, a way of trying to feel important? Should one let people “come to you”, or is it useful to “approach” them (i.e. to have one’s own website vs. going on other people’s websites/threads)? Are people’s minds changed by arguments fairly often, or almost never, or something in between? Basically – how does one know when it’s worth pushing, and when should one stop? Vague questions, I know, but they’ve been lurking in my head for a while, so I’d be grateful for any thoughts you might have.

  83. Has anyone read a book by Matt Stoller called Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy?
    I thought I saw some common themes discussed with JMGs work around the shape of politics in the US (and other countries).

  84. No questions here, but just hello from PA, where I’m preparing to plant seeds in the abandoned cedar hot tub, getting re-acquainted with my family’s land, and theoretically finishing a book. It’s good to hear from everyone!

    @David BTL As someone from a family of middle-class WASPs who’s described myself as practicing emotional bonsai (especially when I was younger), I commiserate. I’m finishing up the Yesod part of Paths of Wisdom; hopefully the Yod/Netzach meditations will give me some useful insights on this.

    One of the things that struck me when wandering around these last few days is how fallen branches and trees grow moss on them, become homes for other organisms, etc. It helps me a little to think about how things go on in different forms, and we never really know what things we find unimportant that might inspire or help those who come after–the golden chessboards people find after Ragnarok.

  85. Hi JMG,

    These open posts are fantastic. Thanks to you for hosting this forum and all of your thoughtful replies. Always great stuff.

    Can you tell me why the material plane is always put in the bottom, lowest position in religious and metaphysical frameworks?

    There is a passage in one of Nasim Taleb’s books–I can’t find the exact reference right now–but it basically says that if you don’t know where you are in the course of a process, you are most likely in the middle. This is counter-intuitive because many processes have timescales that do not match our brains and many people jump to the conclusion that the latest turn of events is either A) the beginning of a grand new shiny phase or B) the doomsday end of all times.

    I know that Dion Fortune’s cosmology puts the human experience in the middle of an arc from the spiritual plane down to the material, and all the way back up again, so in one sense it is in the middle of a process. On the other hand, the physical world is assumed to be as low as it goes. If beginnings and endings are comparatively rare events and humans have only a very dim awareness of the overall cosmos, why assume that we are at an end point in terms of planes? Why can’t there be other, denser, lower planes than the material?

  86. I will second Rajat’s idea. Although I have read the IPCC 5 report, and not just the summary for politicians and have serious questions about the science, the climate is changing measurably. At the same time, there is evidence, for instance, that coral reefs that are far from human activities, especially tourism are doing fine despite warming waters. The whole attempt to reduce environmentalism to carbon emissions seems like a convenient way to deflate other environmental concerns and to create a new class of financial instruments related to carbon credits.

    In 2015 work took me to Las Vegas. On the flight east, home, I remember staring for hours out of the window of an airplane cruising at 600 mph, at desert dotted with circular fields of soy and corn. Nobody talks about what the tremendous emissions of water vapor from industrially watered crops in places that have historically had no emissions of water vapor does to the climate.

  87. @ Ninja Porcupine Collecting Pinecones:

    I’m wondering if it might be the New Madrid fault going, like it did in 1811 and 1812, but with a more permanent result. The overlap area between the eclipse paths runs right over far southeast Missouri. That still may not be the case however.

    @ Warren

    This disturbs me as well. What I don’t think a lot of futurists realize is that The Jetsons, Star Trek etc. are TV shows. They exist in a vacuum and can largely gloss over the social changes because they aren’t intrinsic to the fiction. If we must have the Singularity, I’m just hoping I can curl up in a fairly quiet, steampunk-ish corner of it.

  88. Kevin, I’m just as bemused by the popularity of the Meltdown of the Month Club as you are.

    Marketa, I’m delighted to hear this! For once, Wikipedia isn’t wrong — the Fama Fraternitatis was circulated in manscript for several years before it was finally published, and (if I recall correctly) Comenius is one of the people who’s known to have read it while it was circulating this way. As for the similarities between his thought and the material in Paths of Wisdom, the entire culture of the Renaissance was pervaded by ideas that we’d now consider part of occultism; that’s one of the reasons the cultural shift from the Renaissance to the early modern period was so traumatic for so many people.

    Abdulaziz, (1) what a fine theme for meditation! (I mean that quite seriously; Fortune intended students of the Cos. Doc. to meditate on its relationship to the Tree of LIfe, using her book The Mystical Qabalah as a basis.) (2) Her novels, which discuss that in some detail, talk about the British people as a blend of Germanic (Saxon and Norse) and Keltic (Welsh, Cornish, Scots, etc.) ethnicities. (3) Hmm! That’s not a claim I’ve ever encountered.

    Luna, US air travel is about 10% of normal. I wish we could keep it that way.

    Will M, according to occult philosophy, the causative arrows in this case all go one way, from the higher/inner planes down into matter. Earthquakes come about because inner plane conditions make them necessary; the earthquake doesn’t cause the inner turbulence, the inner turbulence causes the earthquake.

    Aidan, yes, I glanced over it before putting it through. I think you’re quite correct; the American left has been astonishingly unoriginal for the last half century or so.

    Connor, I don’t have the talent that permits scrying in a stone or mirror — some people do, others don’t, and I’m one of the latter. Summoning to full visible manifestation can be done, but you have to burn a heck of a lot of dittany of Crete and put in a lot of energy, so the ritual’s much harder and scrubbing the smoke residue off every surface gets dull very fast. I find that using the imagination is much easier and just as reliable, so long as you’ve done an adequate course of study and practice using, for example, pathworkings to develop the imaginal senses.

    Admin, I don’t know; I’ve never tried that, and the books I use don’t talk about it.

    Windyarning, as with all things Druidical, ask three Druids, get at least five answers! I know there are a fair number of Druids in Australia, so you may want to ask them; as I’ve only ever practiced Druidry in the temperate part of the northern hemisphere, all I can offer you is guesswork.

    Temporaryreality, congratulations! Thank you for the offer; do you have my address?

    Steve T, we were just gearing up to get back to work on the project when Sven, who’s an officer in the Norwegian Army, got called to duty to deal with the present emergency. We’ll pick things up once he’s back to his usual routine. Yes, each of the Spheres will have a well-developed set of correspondences, including colors and the rest of it, but some of that work still has to be done.

    Maxine, the actual date of the equinox varies slightly from year to year, since the year isn’t exactly 365 days. The 21st is more or less the average; this year it was the 19th, next year it’ll be the 20th iirc.

    Michael, true enough! I also wonder if the collapse of sport seasons is predicted there as well, as that’s another 5th house correspondence.

    Reloaded15, exactly — the Orange Julius isn’t the Changer-archetype, he’s simply serving as a temporary vehicle for some of its manifestations. I suspect you may be right about the broader changes, too.

    Greg, as I see it, human beings are what they are. Each of us individually can move closer to this or that ideal, but the species remains what it is; from an occult point of view, when you get to the stage where you stop acting like most humans, you move on to something a little smarter than humanity, while other souls are graduating from cowhood or whatever to fill the places of those who have moved on.

    Warren, I don’t think it’s wrong at all. Progress just means continued movement in the same direction, and if the direction leads somewhere you don’t want to go, wanting the movement to stop is simple sanity.

    Teresa, thank you and I’d be delighted; I’ve emailed you.

    Daniel, it’s a distinctive monomania of our civilization. Every civilization has its manias, the habits of thought that enable it to achieve greatness when used intelligently and in moderation, and then destroy the civilization when used stupidly and immoderately, and quantomania is ours.

    Wistermister, of course you can go too far. The opposite of one bad idea is always another bad idea, and moderation is the basis of sanity.

    Patricia M, delighted to hear it!

    Tripp, excellent. Congratulations!

    Brian, it does indeed sound like something cooked up by a Turin tour guide. No, I’ve never heard of it.

    Admin, look up research into the placebo effect sometime. There’s a lot more that can be done if you’re willing to learn how.

  89. John, ChristineS–

    How ironic (or not, synchronicity being a thing) that I’m reading chapter 9 of Rudolf Steiner’s _Higher Worlds_ (“The Splitting of the Personality”) right now and what does it say? Ahem: “A third evil arises when thinking predominates [over feeling and will]. This produces a contemplative nature, but one closed in upon itself and hostile to life.” Sigh.

  90. Good evening, JMG!
    I received a bunch of books in the mail recently, including the J. Godwin “Harmonies” book that you mentioned.
    (This particular copy was carelessly printed, there are at least a dozen blank pages, but the all seem to be in the first part of the book which gives many many examples about the use of music for various sorts of magical or healing activities, and animals who either use or respond to music or musical tones.)

    On page 17 … “Marius Schneider…has observed that in the cultures where music is still used as a magical force, the making of an instrument always involves the sacrifice of a living being.”

    I’m not sure how to evaluate this statement, as there are various music instruments (lithophone, modern insturments with plastic knobs and mylar drumheads, etc) that don’t involve animal based materials. I am also not sure which cultures “use music as a magical force” so I can’t evaluate it from that end either.

    In the absence of plastics, bone, ivory, hide are all materials that don’t have plant substitutes, so certain kinds of instruments would need animal components. But that doesn’t mean that any random piano with ivory keys was made or played with magical intention?

    Is this belief an example of an understanding that magical power or skill requires a sacrifice?

    I suppose I’d better see what I learn from chapter 2.

  91. My dear Druid, I have one comment to the commentariat in general, and then one observation informed by years of reading this fine blog and its precursor blogs.

    Firstly, I know many here are practicing discursive meditation as part of occult studies or magical curricula. If one wonders what a lifetime of discursive meditation practice results in, if one would like to see an exemplar of the genre of discursive meditators, one could do no better than to listen to the lectures of one Mr. Manly P. Hall, many of which are now available for free on the Youtube platform. Apparently, he used to have some audiocassette tapes of his lectures and people have uploaded them. You can absorb his wisdom, and also pontificate on the topics and insights on which he discourses.

    Secondly, I see in the comments to this blog, especially among the more prolific commentators, some signs of being on the autism spectrum. The sheer volume of comments and the wordiness that are regularly to be found on here hint at moderate ADHD at the very least, in some commenters shading off even further along the spectrum. People on the spectrum often tend to be rather verbose. It has also been confessed by many on here that they have been diagnosed as being on the spectrum, or they strongly suspect they are on the spectrum. It is almost as if this blog and the programs offered thereon, are part of a support network to help people on the spectrum to get along. The tools offered by magic and occultism seem to be able to offer compensatory mechanisms to those on the spectrum if pursued with intensity for long enough duration. Almost as if magic means can be an indirect substitute for neurotypical social skills. I’ve been reading the comments here since 2008, and I’ve noticed a lot of people who show signs of being on the spectrum who have taken up one of JMG’s programs (or any spiritual path) and have now begun to prosper, building character and carving out a niche for themselves.

    I even wonder JMG, if you would ever do a post on the other blog about this very topic, i.e., using magic and occultism to compensate for the difficulties of being on the spectrum? It seems to be a powerful toolkit.

  92. Monk, my experience is of course filtered through my own peculiar psyche, and may not be applicable to anyone else! That said, I prefer — as this blog demonstrates — to express my opinions on my own turf, so that anyone who’s not interested doesn’t have to listen, and I also always reserve the right to terminate a discussion that to my way of thinking has stopped serving any useful purpose. Going onto other people’s forums to argue with them seems unnecessarily rude to me; that said, your mileage may vary, of course.

    Markie, hmm. No, I haven’t seen that.

    Samurai47, for all we know, there may be any number of planes below ours, but the occult philosophy is pragmatic — it only deals with things that occultists might actually experience. Since the material plane is the densest plane we can encounter, and it’s traditional to sort out the planes in terms of density and fixedness, matter goes at the base.

    Justin, fair enough.

    David BTL, belief in coincidence is the most prevalent superstition of the age of science…

    Sylvia, Schneider was overgeneralizing. In some such cultures, that’s true, but not in all.

    Merle, the Manly One is one of my favorite occult writers, so you’ll hear no arguments from me! As for being on the spectrum, well, I’ve got a fine case of adult residual Aspergers syndrome, and I know several readers of this blog who occupy various points on that spectrum — but I also know readers who are well toward the other end of the realm of human neurological variability. My working guess is that this blog is something like the internet equivalent of the Island of Misfit Toys; people wind up here who don’t really fit into any of the more acceptable mainstream venues…

  93. JMG,

    It’s been about six months since I finished working through Learning Ritual Magic. I struggled a lot with the tarot exercises and it seemed clear to me that I was reading the cards wrong.

    On reflecting more, I realised that I had been using intuition when making decisions. I just seem to know when the time is right to do something. When I follow that intuition, things seem to go very well for me. As I began using the tarot, I stopped following my intuition and that seemed to screw things up.

    Now I’m wondering about the relation between tarot and intuition. My naive understanding was that tarot was about unlocking intuition. Is it possible that I had already found a way to access intuition prior to tarot?

    [As a side note, I didn’t always use intuition. When I was younger, I used to think decisions through ‘rationally’ making pros and cons lists and other stuff. Over time, I learned that none of that was useful and that the purpose of reason was to figure out the logistics of a decision once it was made.]

  94. A question regarding the natal chart of nations.

    I guess one could read the natal chart of, say, Spain and go back to the very foundation of the national identity( december 13, 1474) to cast the chart.

    Or one can also read a more limited period, as our shamefully young democracy which started in 1975.

    Is that workable in your experience or is better to work always with the very begining?

  95. @ Michelle,

    Down here in southern Australia I’m just about to start planting garlic. I have an epic harvest of Julienne pears just coming ripe, a decent harvest of Packhams pears, pink lady apples and olives.

    It has been a very strange time in the garden here. Our spring was more like summer and our summer has been more like spring. Normally at this time of the year the garden is dry and tired after a long, hot summer. This year we’ve had heaps of summer rain and everything is green and lush. My nasturtiums have exploded and brought all kinds of butterflies to the garden. Trees and plants are flowering (in autumn!) and just to top it all off, I got a single asparagus spear to eat a couple of weeks ago. Global weirding at work.

  96. @Warren says:

    “A question that’s been eating me lately that may be of interest to readers of this blog: Is it wrong to not want to see technology advance? Obviously a lot of people here believe that progress is hitting a wall as we head towards collapse. I’m agnostic about all that but I’m wondering if it’s wrong to *want* to see science falter.”

    I saw what you did there 😉 You started talking about technology, and then conflated it with science. Wanting to see certain technologies not come to fruition is not at all the same as wanting to see science falter.

    There are many technologies that I would like to see falter, fail, go away, etc. They are anti-human and merely concentrate power and wealth where it is already too concentrated. I see nothing wrong with wanting them to fail. Indeed, I am terrified that they will succeed.

  97. @JMG thank you for replying. This man is of the corporate managerial class. My husband had to endure a rant of “what is it with corporate drones who LARP for a living” to which he nodded along.

    Good point on the homeschooling blog. Part of the reason I deleted it is I was writing from a “school is bad because its designed to be that way and don’t expect it to be anything else” perspective. People will nod in agreement or argue, but will they act? Probably not. But, I can see a lot of people wanting some solid “do this first” kind of guidance. I’ll sleep on it and see what comes up in my dreams and first waking up.

    Btw I did start a business and podcast last year and they are going quite well which has kept me busy. All on genealogy in Pennsylvania – highly specific I know – but we have a very interesting history and it’s been great fun. My thinking was if people could see how their ancestors lived they would 1) appreciate what they have more, and 2) be thankful they are here! One of my ancestors who lived in Philly in the late 1800’s had 12 children, 6 died, 4 of those in a 6 month period. The mom died when the youngest was 2 years old, and the father died 6 years later, leaving 6 orphans. So yeah, I’m so grateful I didn’t go through that, and I’m happy to be here!

    @Michelle Garden update zone 6b – motherwort up already 2 inches high and I’ve got to transplant it tomorrow. Lettuce, peas, carrots and broccoli seeds started in garden already with covers. Bought strawberry seedlings because I’ve tried started from the crowns twice with no luck. It’s the one thing we love each June and will get at the orchard (we don’t buy them in the store) but the orchard was forced to close in the past two weeks and who knows if they will open.

  98. Unoriginal indeed (re: your comments on the New Left)

    I was also wondering if you could answer a couple of old questions at the end of some old posts.

    From The End of the Dream: “How do you see the future of social media? Au present, it seems to be doing a lot to toxify discourse and pathologies in advanced societies.”

    From the February 2020 Post: “Do you regard the decline of fraternalism after the 1960s as related to a corresponding rise.of credentialism starting with the ’68 generation?”

  99. @JMG and I’m sorry to hear about your experience with taking on students. I’ve always wondered why some well-known thinkers didn’t have equally as famous students who came up the ranks and continued on their teacher’s work. Always blamed it on the teacher. Obviously put the fault in the wrong place.

    Oh and if anyone wants any rule broken for them, time to ask is now. I’ve gotten so many rules and regs waived in the past two weeks, its amazing. Just ask bureaucrats, administrators, managers for what you want. Everyone is making adjustments and doing things they wouldn’t normally do. It’s fantastic. While people are sitting worried about how to pass the time, I started making phone calls and got so much done.

  100. Hi all, has anyone here learned shoe repair? I’ve been dabbling with making Viking era turnshoes, sandals and am starting to use contact cement for attaching and reattaching soles.

    My feeling is that contact cement may become hard to get hold of later in the long descent, so I’m getting used to also using thread only construction methods.

    Does this sound like a useful skill in the context of the long descent?

  101. John Michael, to be fair, there was also some debate about your political and economic predictions last week, though it all did occur in the context of much hand waving about disease disruption making this time the much longed for “different.” Your predictions that seemed to get the most interest in their own right were the comfortable classes losing influence and the common people feeling increased strength and confidence.

    In particular, several commenters offered examples of the MSM actually acknowledging the populace’s palpable distrust of and disregard for the various experts being waved distractingly in front of us. That’s real news! I’d love to know the backstory of how the MSM lost control of its ability to keep any real news from appearing in any of its outlets, ever. Did the cult of efficiency lead to the firing of so many spindoctors that there was insufficient redundancy when one of the remaining ones took a day off? That would be so funny!

    “Alert, alert, an unsupervised, unedited journalist has been seen in the building! We are in lockdown! This is not a drill! All efforts must be taken to keep all journalists away from the send button on any computer or phone until this crisis is resolved! Authorization to use lethal force! Repeat, repeat: We are in lockdown! Any manager with at least a BS degree in BS is to report immediately to their supervisor! Breaking: We now have reports that the rogue journalist is not acting alone! An unknown number of truth-telling journalists are loose in the building! This may be a contamination event — it may be contagious! Do not move from your current location — a shelter in place order has been issued!” . . . Duh, I know I’m panicking, but I’m not a BS expert! I don’t even have the clearance to make live announcements! I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, and they’re gonna try to pin all this on me in the end! Frack all, we’re a BS factory — how can there be no fracking BS experts on this entire campus? Call our competitors; tell them it’s a bloody emergency; offer them any price for a BS expert. God, the shale’s gonna hit the fan when Mr. Fatcat hears about this. He’s such an idiot — he’ll just start firing people right and left. Who can we throw under the bus for this to save our jobs? Think, guys, think! Ok, that might just work. We’ll blame it on HR for firing all the spinDoctorates and replacing them with a few BS Masters. I never liked that piece of shale HR director anyways. Hey, another report’s coming in — turn the mic back on. What do you mean it never got turned off…?

    Well, after that exercise in absurdity, I guess I do have a question about the fall of the chattering classes. Is there a predictable point in the decline of an elite when the circular-firing-squad virtue purging really begins to ramp up? Like an inflection point between the run-of-the-mill loyalty policing we ignore as background noise and the paranoid, defensive implosion of any ability to distinguish enemies from allies, complete with saber-rattling and paper dragons to frighten outsiders from approaching close enough to peer over the edge of the smoking crater of the glory that was. Are there consistent warning signs that the fading lords and ladies are about to go all Scarface on everyone in sight, or does that precise turning point remain a suspenseful surprise that we can all await with baited breath, like infants glued to a slowly cranking jack-in-the-box?

  102. If I was one of the 3 who commented about the Untypable, I apologize. I normally don’t read the canned announcement for Everything Week as it never changes. This time I noticed mentions of the Untypable as I went down through the comments. If I perpetrated an Oops, it wasn’t intentional. 😊

    Napoleon is now gearing up to invade England. If I recall correctly from the 5 minutes or so we spent on him in 10th grade, that didn’t go well either. I’m wondering why no one ever arranged a nasty accident for him, especially after General Winter stomped his [unDruidly word] in Russia. Everyone knows you don’t try to invade Russia in winter, and everybody knew it then, too. I’ll be interested to see what was behind that, when I get that far.

  103. Hi JMG,

    I have three questions for you:

    What’s your favorite beer?

    What’s your favorite not-LotR fantasy book series?

    In your opinion, what country has the sanest political structure?


  104. @Aidan and everyone else:

    I found Aidan’s well-documented post (toward the end of last week’s comments) extremely useful, and have saved a copy.

    I’d only like to add one thing, Aidan: this approach to power and control had its older roots in Eastern Europe, and in particular in the methodology developed by the Bolsheviks in the Soviet Union back in the days of Stalin to consolidate their power. Some of the terms (for example, “politically corrct,” “false consciousness” and “self-criticism”) that are still current in New-Left usage are literal translations from Russian terms used in Russia in the (failed) Communist project to remake humankind into something quite new that would be more amenable to shaping a Communist society.

  105. Greetings Ecosophians

    Free Radio Skybird Update

    DJ Frederick has a special plan for shortwave domination. The Free Radio Skybird schedule for the end of March through May is out now, with the next episode airing on Sunday March 29th. If you just can’t wait to tune in you can listen to the full stereo recording of the show now on DJ Frederick’s Soundcloud.

    Besides DJ Frederick’s choice cuts of anything and everything from prog era rock, library music, and basement bargain bin scores and dumpster dived deviance from anything normal, there will be segments from One Deck Pete reading the Skybird Mailbag, and his “Radio Fanatics of the World Unite” mix that has tunes from Nadezha Orlova, Duce Haus and Yemanjo and the Monarch Duo. There will also be two new segments of the Radiophonic Laboratory each month in April and May. In this end of March episode I feature music from Tod Machover, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, and David Rosenboom from my home studio aboard the VALIS satellite.

    All broadcasts are via 6070 Khz shortwave transmitting from Germany at 1100 UTC. That is 7 AM for all you early risers here in the Eastern time zone of the US. For those in the UK and Europe where the broadcast has the most coverage it is actually a nice mid-morning slot of time. If you haven’t got a shortwave radio it can also be heard on the SDR link on Channel 292’s site here:

    It’s going to be wicked!

    March 29 – new broadcast
    April 5 – repeat
    April 13 (Monday instead of the usual Sunday) – new broadcast
    April 19 – repeat
    April 26 – new broadcast
    May 3 – repeat
    May 10 – new broadcast
    May 17 – repeat
    May 24 – new broadcast
    May 31 – repeat.

  106. In a MM question you answered “see if you can get Venus in good condition (not in Aries, Scorpio, or Virgo, and not in negative aspect with Mars or Saturn), and then get the Moon applying to Venus by trine or sextile, while neither the Moon nor Venus is in square or opposition to anything or in conjunction with Mars or Saturn. That’s when you release your album.”

    Does that ever happen? After looking at months of dates, the only time I can find is when everything is kosher except venus and the moon each square an outer planet.. is that alright? Thank you again for these forums and your generosity of time and wisdom.

  107. Increasingly I find myself looking at things and wondering how sustainable they are, on the longer timescales. With firearms, which I have something of a libertarian-type “molon labe” attachment to, I think “the metal must someday run out”. Ruinmen can’t salvage it forever, even if the end is incredibly distant from us.

    Wood for stocks will almost certainly outlive our species, composite bows convince me that nonmetal mainsprings are doable (perhaps not in pistol size), and I understand black powder to be wholly renewable. Ignition without flints or fulminates is trickier, but there was a .22 rifle called the Daisy V/L which used what was essentially a fire piston, and was very reliable. It was discontinued for legal reasons, not design. I suspect pistons, and not flintlocks or slowmatch will replace fulminates during the long decline, as they are not forever running down, and the V/L mechanism isn’t as exposed to rain.

    But I can’t think of anything that replaces metal, especially the metal in the barrel. Have you heard of any material that can hold up to that kind of pressure, even if just the lower psi related to shotguns or .380s?

    Or of any way the create new metal? I once came across an article gushing that we can concentrate from the seas as much metal of any kind as we can ever use, but it struck me as being the sort of energy-gorging endeavor that James Howard Kunstler calls “techno-narcissism.”

  108. Hi JMG. Thanks for this opportunity. In the Ritual of the OIW, I am curious about the orientation of the drawn awens at the zenith and nadir (second pass). Are they horizontal or vertical? If horizontal, is the “top” toward the east? If vertical, the orientation seems clear. I think I know, but I would like clarification.
    Thank you.

  109. Need new reading material folks? Given the circumstances we are living through right now, and the need to find some escape sometimes, I wanted to share this. This is a link to the Founders House Publishing Payhip store where many of our eBooks are sold directly. I’m adding more of our titles but there is a good selection of JMG’s titles and also MYTHIC if you’d like to sample some short fiction.

    Of course, if you’d like print copies, you can visit

  110. ReGenesis Ov Psychic Youth:
    R.I.P. Genesis Breyer P. Orridge (22 February 1950 – 14 March 2020)

    The news came to me a week after the fact, and it is still settling in to my brain and my bones. I cannot say I was shocked to learn of the death of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, as I knew s/he had been struggling with leukemia the past few years, but I can say I was saddened to learn of he/r passage. An though I am still Processing this news I can say with thee vtmost certainty that I have been Strengthened and Emboldened by thee example ov fearless creativity Gen showed throughout he/r life. I have learned so much from he/r mvsic, writing, art and life, I’ve been trasnformed by it, as have many other Psychic Youth, in or out of Thee Temple. The Earth will throb with h/er memory.

    Again, I’m still Processing this passage. But the whole Current that came out of Throbbing Gristle was extremely important to me, and I know to many others. Even more than TG and PTV the music of fellow TG members in Coil and Chris and Cosey really brought the magic into music.

    This might be a good time for people to pick up a copy of Gen’s “Thee Psychick Bible” his collected writings from Thee Temple ov Psychic Youth and their various forms of chaos magic and other occultisms. It was h/er time and I never met h/er in person but the influence and debt is strong enough for me to at least wish h/er a good send off into the next realm and whatever adventures happen next for h/er soul.

    I’ll be putting some Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle into some of my playlists for shortwave & local FM in tribute.

  111. Michelle, I have garlic looking healthy ( a first to grow for me), peas (sprouted inside in a plastic bag and planted in the pouring rain) looking so lush I am afraid something will be tempted to eat them and I check them nervously every morning, some potatoes ( I suspect the ones I sprouted from supermarket potatoes in January when no seed potatoes were for sake in my area) already poking their heads up from the hay, and also some little radish and carrot and cabbage seedlings. It looks like an early spring here in Arkansas. The violets are blooming everywhere.
    Dfr1973, a weak mother, and a newborn baby goat which can’t walk, screams white muscle disease at me. Basically a lack of selenium, which you need to give them ASAP obtainable from a tube at Tractor Supply. I had a real problem this year with it and as I’ve never had it before I’m wondering if the excess rain we had last year affected the selenium levels in the soil.
    Will pray for your baby goat tonight in my prayers.

  112. JMG, with regard to the evocation to visible appearance thing,

    I used to be really interested in that when I was still “hungry for proof.” TS has W’ed enough for me to not really feel the need anymore.

    But practical utility aside, I’ve still pondered a question about it. If you did want to go through the effort, are there spirits that would be appropriate to work with that way?

    Most of the discussion online focuses on evoking demons, which you’ve said (and I believe) is a bad idea generally, and it doesn’t really seem like something appropriate to ask of a god.
    I’ve had the opportunity to see a nature spirit (not sure if that’s the right term, but it was attached to a specific location) appear to visible appearance all on its own, and the experience left me with no desire to try to make something like that leave its sacred spot and appear elsewhere, much less believe that I’d be capable of doing so.
    From Magic Mondays, I gather that you’d also recommend against the whole “shades of the dead” thing, so are there any contexts where evocation to visible appearance is still an option for the discerning and reasonably polite polytheist? Are there elementals or something that are willing and appropriate for that sort of operation?

    Thank you!

  113. I am very interested to see what the peak oil folks here think of Russia and the Saudi’s trying to essentially bankrupt the US fracking industry. It is looking like they may just achieve their goal unless a big bail out happens. Some very convenient timing on their behalf.

    Hard to tell currently what will happen as it is but another wave in the fascinating world of energy resources and politics.

    As a fellow ecosophian, just sit back quietly watching its dance of pricing and time.

  114. @Ninja Porcupine Collecting Pinecones: Regarding the big moment coming: I have been mentioning to acquaintances that, in 1988, no one could accept the possibility that the Soviet Union would no longer exist in 4 years. Few have challenged me on the implication that the same could happen to the USA. They tend to look bemused, then accept that it’s possible.

    @Brian & JMG: my wife is from Torino (Turin is the Anglicization), and she’s been referring to as a city of magic since we met 40+ years ago. A friend of my late mother in law lived in the same building as the mage Dr. Roll, who turned down Fellini’s offer to make a film about him. Cardinal Ratzinger, when he was the Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, assigned a number of exorcists to Torino to combat possessions there. Gianduiotto, the characteristic chocolate of Torino, is proof of the existence of white magic, in my opinion.

    I’m reading The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff, at the recommendation of someone on the blog. It parallels the public reaction in our current day to The Subject Which May Not Be Named. I’m about halfway through, plus I’m slogging through Vol. 2 of The Decline of the West.

  115. Booklover,
    I once had a daily house chart tell me that I needed to change the kind of underwear I had on. At the risk of beating a dead horse, I’ve been suffering from a prostate issue for 4 months now, and that day I was feeling pretty good, so I pulled out a pair of boxers like it was old times. Mistake. The boxer briefs I changed into helped so much. And I laughed pretty hard when I recognized the relevant figure and house in that day’s chart!
    TMI, I know…

  116. @daniel
    thanks for the term quantomania. The concept is nothing new to me, but I never had a word for it. Many years ago did suffer from it myself, but i have recovered since.
    I remember a discussion I had with a fellow musician some time ago. He claimed that any emotion can be put in numbers. As proof he offered music on CD. It is possible to express emotions in music and it is possible to encode music into numbers.
    At the time of the discussion I had no good reply. One of those moments where you know you there is something badly wrong with the argument, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.
    A bit later it occurred to me. Blindingly obvious really.
    It is not possible to encode music in numbers.
    All you got on a CD is a string of numbers.
    It only becomes music, when a human listenes to it and if someone claims, a conscious activity can be reduced to a computation I’d certainly like to see the proof of that.

  117. JMG,

    it’s not a Magic Monday, but since it’s an open post I want to ask – what is the difference between desire and will from the point of view of occult philosophy? I know you said one belongs to the lower planes, the other belongs to the higher planes, but still, what’s the difference? I just can’t imagine willing something without wanting it. Desires move us, we wouldn’t be alive if we didn’t desire. So I can’t resolve this riddle for now. Maybe there’s a book I need to read.

  118. 1) It’s amazing how different things are without all the cars on the road. Public transit runs on time, the air is cleaner, and there’s way less noise. The sky is clear in a way I’ve never seen it here before, and I don’t live in a very big city. I wonder what sort of effects the shutdown is having on larger cities.

    2) I figured learning how life worked in an earlier age would be a good idea, since the material framework of earlier times will be easier to maintain on a longer timescale than those of the present. I found a very good book on daily life in the 1950s, which has revealed something fascinating: the consumer economy is way older than I thought it was; and also a lot of the dysfunctional ideas and social habits are way older than I thought they were.

    This served to hammer home just how wasteful we are now: we use vastly more energy than in 1950, and for a lower standard of living…

  119. No, Warren, it isn’t crazy and cruel. You made a very good list of things to really be afraid of. The problem, I suppose, is that humans are not morally advanced enough to refrain from engaging in all those worst case scenarios with technology. Technology is power. Who would want to give criminals power?
    It is true of course that some technologies are very good. Its a conundrum. I think a kind of corollary to the general moral deficiency of humans is that nonpowerful people lack a kind of discernment as to what is really good for them or makes them happy and fulfilled. They pursue lifestyles that isolate them but are affluent and they eat and drink stuff all day that prickles taste buds but leads to ill health. In the past, there were no such choices. Habits like empty junk food or drinking soda all day just weren’t an option. For the very poor, it was a matter of not having the better food, like protein, available frequently enough, but only the rich might occasionally overindulge and become fat or get gout.

  120. Oh, also, does having a visible comet in a progressed and/or natal chart indicate anything?

  121. Michelle,
    I can’t resist a question about my garden! This is my first year in the new garden and I’m making good headway on a good ol’ Emilia Hazelip-style mounded-bed-on-contour setup. As much rain as we’ve had the last 3 years it seems more appropriate than ever, and I’ve done well with this approach in the past.

    Garlic looks great. Lettuces, greens, leeks, and salad herbs start going in this week (as soon as the Moon exits Aries), with a trial of potatoes going in in 3 different quarters/signs, since we got rained out of the Scorpio in the 3rd quarter I was shooting for earlier this month.

    As it warms I’ll add pole beans, tomatoes, sweet corn, and sweet potatoes too. I have better soil and more sun here than I’ve had in a long time. Outside the veggie garden I’ll be adding 2 or 3 Asian pears (only varieties I’ve already proven here in fireblight country), a couple of my favorite figs, 6 more blueberry bushes, and a fat red raspberry patch. New chicken coop/tool shed/dog shelter in the planning stage to replace my chicken tractor that’s too big for this yard, and bees next Spring.

    Oh, and I found some huge morels today. Yummy! (Just thought I’d toss that out there.)

    I’m sure we’re not supposed to spend stimulus money (for you-know-what;) on self-reliance measures, but hey, too bad…

    Thanks for asking! Hope your season is productive!

  122. Cary:

    For what it’s worth, my sage has happily co-habitated in a small raised bed with bee balm for many years.

  123. A thought on the U.S. Aries ingress chart I neglected to bring up last week:

    Saturn is in the 2nd house,yes, but it’s very close to being in the 3rd house. As a fraction of the year (the time span the chart is valid for), it comes to about 8-9 days or about… this upcoming weekend; alternatively, treating the ingress as a natal chart, it transitions into the 3rd house on April 1, a week from now.

    I’m not sure how this will manifest, of course, but I suspect it may result in some relief for the ailing economy. Which is good.

  124. Hi Kevin J,

    I really like daily-life books, what’s the title and author of the one about the 50’s?

  125. Simon, good heavens, yes. There are many ways to learn to use intuition, and Tarot is only one of them. Try interpreting the Tarot intuitively — don’t worry about what the cards are supposed to mean, just ask yourself what they mean to you at that moment; some diviners use that approach and get excellent results.

    Guillem, I don’t use national foundation charts, partly because it’s so hard to tell which one to use, and partly because ingress charts are the end of mundane astrology I’ve been exploring, and I get good results with them. So I have no idea which one you’d need to use.

    Denys, gotcha. Social criticism has its place — and the gods know the public schools deserve it! — but if you want to make change, you’ll get the furthest by focusing on the positive alternatives. Interesting about the podcast and business — may both thrive.

    Aidan, first, social media is less novel than people like to think; the same things were being done via zines, letters columns, and the pamphlet press long before the internet was invented, and will still be happening long after the internet shuts down, so the fine details of the medium don’t really concern me that much. Second, no, I don’t — the causes as I see were rather different, and are well discussed in Robert Putnam’s book Bowling Alone.

    Denys, oh, I’m no doubt contributing to the problem as well; I’m an autodidact and so don’t have all that much experience with learning from a teacher. The thing is, I’m utterly uninterested in having people continue in my footsteps — I want them to find and make their own paths.

    Russell, it’s a very useful skill, and as cheap imported shoes stop being readily available, it’s likely to become a lucrative one as well.

    Christophe, oh, granted, I exaggerated somewhat; I do that from time to time for rhetorical effect, of course. As for your question, that I know of, there’s no consistent signal — we just have to wait for the circular firing squad to form up.

    Your Kittenship, no, it wasn’t you.

    Colter, (1) Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. (2) The Well at the World’s End by William Morris, by a hair — Tolkien isn’t even in my top ten these days. (3) Is there a country with a sane political structure? If so, I haven’t heard of one.

    Justin, delighted to hear it!

    Garbonzea, good planetary elections are hard to find. If you want to use that approach, sometimes it’s necessary to wait for a couple of years to get the right energetics. That’s why most people who do this sort of thing simply use the planetary day and hour, and leave it at that.

    Joshua, iron is bioconcentrated by bog bacteria — look up the phrase “bog iron” sometime. Most of the iron used to smelt swords and armor in the Viking era came from bog iron. So iron is in fact a renewable resource!

    Bran, I do it horizontally, top toward the west above, top toward the east below, so in both cases it appears to be upright as I look toward it.

    Shaun, thanks for this. You’re right, of course, that the best way to make social distancing easier is to curl up with a good book!

    Justin, yes, I heard about his passing. I wasn’t a fan but I know a lot of people were.

    Rohan, planetary intelligences and planetary spirits are the ones that come first to mind; you can also use that technique for the spirits of the Enochian tablets, if you’re minded to use those.

    Michael, it’s going to be fascinating to watch.

    Peter, oh, no question, Turin is one of the important cities of Italian occultism, just as Lyon has long been one of the two main centers of French occultism. My dismissal was solely of the way that was stretched into two triangles of good and evil.

    Ecosophian, sorting out the difference between desire and will is a long slow process. It can be useful to choose to do things you don’t desire to do — that’s one of the strengths of asceticism, though I find it even more useful to do things to which I’m utterly indifferent, just because it’s good training for the will. Eventually you get to the point that you perceive your desires, and then choose freely which of them you will to satisfy and which of them you will to leave unfulfilled, and then the difference becomes very clear indeed.

    Kevin, two excellent points. As for the comet, I’ve never seen anything suggesting that it does, but there may be some research out there somewhere I haven’t encountered yet.

    Brendhelm, it was also just a few minutes of arc away from passing out of its rulership in Capricorn, so that might indicate a weakening of its influence.

  126. I read a book recently about improvements in the last few decades in the strains the industrial system places on the environment and non-renewable resources, by less wasteful manufacturing and improved recycling. I saved the author and title so carefully that now I can’t find it, but there was nothing of fundamental importance; energy supplies were not mentioned, and a few other sore spots like ocean fisheries also did not come up. At least there are a few points of light in Crisis Phase Two of the Long Descent. For some reason I found myself visualizing Wiley Coyote, ten feet off the cliff, looking down and saying “Ulp! But what’s that?” As he hits the bottom of the canyon, he lands in a pile of cushions, and is humiliated to hear the cheery “Meep! Meep!” telling him how they got there. The Road Runner values the stimulation of being chased by his playmate. In the same way, maybe Mam Gaia is noticing these small mitigations and saying, “Good start, silly monkeys, but if you want to play tag with me, you’ll have to do better than that!”

    On another topic, I recently experimented with travel by train when going from central Florida to Maryland. That is a straight shot on Amtrak, so this was the low-hanging fruit of my annual convention-going. I returned via tourist visits to Charleston and Savannah, so I got to ride three trains. Review: All three had very comfortable seats with lots of leg room, lounge cars with limited but useful snack bars, were not as full as the airlines, and required no real security kabuki. One of the officials on the train wore a uniform that I take for TSA, but she did not give passengers any attitude. I don’t sleep much on vehicles, and the first train’s cool temperature chilled down into the 50s overnight, but that may be a wintertime thing. One of the three trains (the Palmetto from New York to Savannah) had such dirty windows that it looked like a very foggy day outside, even though it was clear. Amtrak trains go down in the hole to wait for fast freights to pass them, so the speed was slightly slower than I think I remember from the Sixties. The condition of track and roadbed was acceptable, but not exemplary. (Amtrak has good track between Boston and Washington, and that segment is electrified, but even there the regular trains have slowed down over the last 50 years.)

    If we started getting ticket prices reflecting most spillover effects, including environmental, trains would be competitive with airliners. I do not find that they are quite there at this time. I would sit up overnight in a day coach to save $10 an hour in today’s currency, but even giving Amtrak a $50 credit each way for the ceremonial goosing I missed at the airport, I only saved half that. I might do this again just for practice, and I might mix and match on future trips, as by starting a trip to Chicago by flying to Baltimore and taking trains from there. There are two overnight runs through Appalachia I have never taken, both with some nice scenery in the hills and hollers east of the Rust Belt (the really slow southern route, gerrymandered to serve as many Congressional districts as possible and still barely hanging on to its subsidy and running three times a week, and the one JMG told us about when he lived in Cumberland, which uses the old Pennsylvania Railroad route.)

    Why yes, i do have fairly severe Aspergers, what was your first clue? (Too Much Information!)

  127. JMG,

    thank you for the answer, though I’m seeing a problem with it. Like many I often have to do things I don’t want to do, so I know the difference. I know what it feels like. But if I do things I don’t desire, doesn’t it just mean that there is another, stronger desire in me? A desire to be enlightened, or become stronger etc? So maybe the difference between will and desire is in the point of origin i.e. if there is a true self, then what comes from it is the will? Sorry if it seems like a stupid question to you.

  128. @Warren: I don’t know if it’s wrong and cruel, but I’m pretty much right there with you. Every time there’s an announcement about some new supposed breakthrough in AI or neuroscience, I feel a pang of dread, and I feel like much of the scientific effort is detrimental to my well-being.

    More, a lot of my response is rooted in my miserable, bloody-minded side. The project of urban-industrial civilization strikes me as being so disastrous that I wind up cheering on every sign of its illness and disability.

    And then… my pragmatic side kicks in and points out that I’m typing this on a computer fueled by fossil fuels, and I could spend my time in more healthy ways than going around raining on people’s parades.

    Also, it is hard to articulate why I feel this way, why I have this gut-level reaction against the futurist crowd. I’m very thankful to have discovered authors like Jerry Mander and Theodore Roszak and Colin Wilson, who express quite precisely what I’ve observed but could not name.

    And one more thing, I’m dubious of the claim that science and technology can eliminate suffering. Used wisely, they can ease suffering, or perhaps delay it. But suffering is inherent to our existence, and quite often we mistake a refusal to discuss the costs of our actions with the removal of suffering. (The Green Revolution, for instance – we reduced the threat of starvation, at a tremendous environmental cost, and now we have a massive population that’s going to get pared down no matter what we do.)

  129. I hope this doesn’t come too close to coronavirus talk, but I was wondering about pandemics in general and whether we’d ever truly be able to prevent them outright. We’ve gotten pretty good at developing antibiotics, antivirals, cures, vaccines, and so on, but at the end of the day, it seems like we’re still in an arms race with nature, and I’m worried that it’s one we’ll never be able to win. Evolution is quite good at producing new pathogens a lot faster than we can detect them, let alone cure or vaccinate against them. Bacteria and viruses mutate at an alarmingly rapid rate, so even if human biotechnology improves, it still might not be enough to prevent future epidemics and pandemics from happening. What’s worse, the overuse of antibiotics and antivirals might be making these pathogens evolve at an even faster rate than they would otherwise, producing even more new threats.

    I suppose what I’m wondering is, what can be done about that? Do you think it would ever be possible to completely eradicate disease and create a panacea that would be able to wipe out new pathogens before they become a problem? Perhaps with genetic engineering we could create artificial bacteriophages and virophages that pathogens wouldn’t be able to adapt too, but I don’t know how feasible it is. Otherwise, it seems like pandemics might just be an unavoidable fact of life for the foreseeable future.

  130. @Cary-
    Purple sage and yarrow do fine together in my garden. In fact, the yarrow threatens to engulf the sage.
    –Heather in CA

  131. Mr. Greer,

    Would you ever consider lifting your television moratorium to watch Neon Genesis Evangelion? It’s an amazing anime full of occult and Jungian symbolism. I already know you’re laughing and prepping to delete this comment, but your work and the imaginative power of the show are the only things bringing me back to metaphysical studies.

    On a side note, I was hopeful before moving to Japan to encounter many people faithful to Shinto practice. Your average Japanese stranger (say, the kind you’d meet in a pub or public park in the suburbs of Tokyo or Sapporo) seems only to practice ritual (namely New Year’s blessing) as a matter of course. The idea that pagan practices thrive here appears to be inaccurate. Just wanted to report in.

    Thanks and best wishes.


  132. Just wondering, have you heard of human design charts and if so what do you think of them?

  133. @Denys

    When I started considering/researching home schooling for my kid, I found “hub websites” like (western experience) and (indian experience) very useful. So if it makes sense to you, do contribute to a website like that and link back to your own.

    We have been homeschooling for 3 years now and found our own rhythm and life style that works for us.

    Many parents ask the canned questions, some have asked if we will home school their kids :-), others disconnect as soon as they realize that one of them has to stay at home with kids and make many life style changes…

    I realized that most people will not be able to fit it into their current situations. So to make it simpler on myself, when ever someone wishes to discuss homeschooling, I recommend 3 books for them to read to get the context – one each by gatto, holt and illich and ask them to get back if they are still interested. Very few people followup and then the discussion is productive.

  134. I want to mention to Steve T that I went up a mountain today and there, included him in my prayer, specifically that he be healthy, adding folks in Tokyo to that wish too. A few weeks ago, several people here including Violet and Barefoot Wisdom prayed for me as I went through a crisis and it really did make a big difference. They must have really good techniques. I hope mine is as good. I used the ancient Fuji Sect’s verses as I faced her snowy slopes.

    At the risk of going OT, I think it is really a good idea to make the topic-that-should-not-be-mentioned off topic this week. The TV is nothing but you-know-what. Rellies’ e-mails likewise. Good heavens, I saw this year’s first little white flowers on the mountain, and some orange butterflies that were interested in each other, and about 10 people, mostly in pairs, none of whom were discussing you-know-what. And down at the lake that is famous for reflecting the sun rising from atop Mt. Fuji there were a few spare ducks left over after migration including a few uncommon species. And they were interested in whatever I might have in my backpack if I didn’t mind. So pretty.

    We have such a rich world for anyone who goes out and looks.

  135. Dear JMG and Commentariat:

    I’ll be posting a new Orphic Hymn to Saturn on Saturday. Please look for it on my YouTube music channel and at my Bandcamp:

    I wrote a short essay about today’s unmentionable subject and the fear of death:

    I made a video about the Druid tree/human energy exchange:

    All my best!

  136. @Warren,
    I definitely relate to the conundrum you speak of. I try to be magnanimous with regard to technology, because I have to eschew it myself for health reasons, but I know others who love it more than anything else in the world. They frequently ask me what my favorite technology is (the refrigerator). This seems especially true of my parents’ generation, true adherents of the civil religion of Progress, who lived with the hardships we must of necessity face again, and saw technology bring not only physical comforts but also take a big step away from the superstitions and prejudices that prevailed in their war-time childhoods.
    Thus I discipline myself to say, “I hope technology will provide you nothing but blessings and I and my problems will turn out to be nothing of importance.” And yet all of the signs swinging creakily in the winds of time are pointing in a different direction now, and the red lights flashing on the control panels are hastily taped over, declared minor malfunctions and ignored as the machine lurches unsteadily in the intended direction, with its gears grinding, spewing noxious fumes.
    There are a number of experts in various fields right now kicking themselves for not making a bigger attempt earlier on to warn everyone of the various perils we now.face on account of decisions they had a putative voice in into which so many have now invested so much that whichever way we go we face we hardship.

  137. Mr. Greer,
    In your previous post, Lathechuck mentioned an article about the decline of empires by Patrick Wyman in Mother Jones.
    Readers might be interested in Wyman’s The Fall of Rome podcast because it gives a very detailed, nuanced picture of the end of Rome in the west. It is quite similar to your predictions of the future, not a single dramatic season-ending cataclysm, but rather an unevenly spaced series of unevenly distributed declines with many partial but incomplete recoveries.

  138. JMG,

    Thanks for that. I was definitely using the cards ‘rationally’ i.e. trying to remember which suits are contradictory/complementary and looking up the standard meanings.

    One thing that occurs to me though is, if I am free to interpret the cards however I like, do I even need the cards? To take the example from LRM, couldn’t I just ask myself “what one thing do I most need to understand in the next twenty four hours?” and see whatever it is that comes to mind?

  139. I’d like to hear other readers’ views on the supposed defeat sustained by C S Lewis in debate with Elizabeth Anscombe at the Socratic Club on 2nd February 1948.

    The clearest account I can find is that in Francis Spufford’s “The Child that Books Built” (2002).

    Lewis deployed his usual argument in favour of the claim that what he called “Naturalism” (i.e. scientism or monist materialism) is self-refuting. Anscombe is then supposed to have “trounced” him. This is the standard view, and Spufford agrees, but I find it hard to believe.

    Here’s Spufford’s summary in a couple of paragraphs on pages 98-99 of his book:

    “Lewis argued that the existence of reason in the world could not be explained as the result of natural processes. If someone with alcoholic poisoning claims that the house is full of snakes, we don’t believe them [sic], he pointed out. We identify their reasoning as defective and invalid because it emerges from the physical state of their body. Reason exists in its valid, undebased form only when we can say it is not influenced by non-rational forces, like having a large proportion of vodka in your bloodstream. Reason with a physical cause is not reason at all. Therefore true reason does not emerge from our bodies, but is a gift from beyond the frontier. Therefore there is a world beyond Nature to give such gifts. QED.
    “No, said Anscombe. He had misunderstood what it would mean for the natural world to furnish the causes for rational thought. If people discovered some version of the laws of cause and effect that was subtle enough and fine-grained enough to explain how each thought in someone’s mind caused its successor, it would still ‘not show that a man’s reasons were not his reasons; for a man who is explaining his reasons is not giving a causal account at all.’ That is, he would not be telling you how the belief x came about in his mind, but why he believes it. There are two different kinds of ‘cause’, corresponding to the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of any belief, and Lewis had lumped them together, making every this-worldly factor in our thinking seem as straightforwardly destructive of reason as a brain tumour. It is perfectly possible for ‘human thought to be the product of a chain of natural causes’, and yet not be invalidated by the standards of logic. Therefore the existence of reason does not in itself prove that anything besides Nature exists. QED.”

    Thus Spufford’s summary of Anscome’s argument. Lewis, the legend goes, was floored by the move.
    But why? In reply to Anscombe’s distinction between the “how” and the “why” of any belief, CSL could (in my opinion) easily have made an equally telling distinction, that is, between what is said and what is implied. He might have said, “Wishing isn’t having. Monists/Naturalists may WISH to assert that they are giving reasons for, rather than merely pointing out physical causes for, their beliefs. But never mind what they wish – they can’t plausibly do it, because they have cut off that avenue of argument, since they postulate a reality in which nothing exists except matter, energy and physical causation. They are the ones who are doing the ‘lumping together’.”

    I dare say Lewis was unwise to limit his argument to “reason”; he might have included all cognitive and qualitative awareness as intrinsic refutations of materialism. But be that as it may, surely the point is that the materialists’ implicit renunciation of cognitive vantage means, in intellectual terms, that they’re cutting off the branch they’re sitting on. A really material-only materialist can’t argue, he just emits sound-waves. And what amazes me is that Lewis, of all people, should have missed this retort. For nobody understood the monist syndrome better than he.
    Any views, anyone?

  140. Sue Doe-Nimh
    I signed up to the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids course a couple of years ago. Its a more spiritual based approach rather than focused on magic and as a person who suffers from anxiety I found it enormously helpful in improving my mental well being. I’d be surprised if it didn’t provide help in terms of depression as well.
    Regards Averagejoe

  141. Not what I’d call a good critical review, but at least a look and commentary:
    Regarding that Guardian article jbucks linked on electric cars, at least looking at the version of it online now, the first paragraph of the article mentions manufacturing — but the _rest_ of the article, especially the part most directly referencing the study, focuses on just the electricity source.
    “Scientists from the universities of Exeter, Nijmegen and Cambridge conducted lifecycle assessments that showed that even where electricity generation still involves substantial amounts of fossil fuel, there was a CO2 saving over conventional cars and fossil fuel heating.”
    Mind, it doesn’t say that it’s _not_ also talking about the manufacturing and does seem to at least be trying to suggest it is, but it doesn’t explicitly mention it after that first paragraph.

    And I could only see the abstract of the study, but from it:
    “However, since electricity generation involves using fossil fuels, it is not established where and when the replacement of fossil-fuel-based technologies by electric cars and heat pumps can effectively reduce overall emissions. Could electrification policies backfire by promoting their diffusion before electricity is decarbonized?”
    No mention of manufacturing I saw there, either.

    So I think that while this may or may not (insufficient data) be a paid-for-certain-results study, my current interpretation has the inclusion of manufacturing as quite likely more from spin by the media than the study itself.

    (The article _does_ quote some people involved in the study saying things like “The idea that electric vehicles or heat pumps could increase emissions is essentially a myth”… but if the study didn’t look at manufacturing environmental costs at all, that’s not necessarily the same thing as _the study_ saying that.)

  142. @ isabelcooper

    Thank you for your reply, which I appreciate. This is an old story for me and no doubt well-rooted in my childhood somewhere, hence the direction to examine the shadowed corners of my psyche I’d rather leave alone. And why I have to keep getting reminded that balance is necessary.

  143. To those who call others “stupid”…..I’d like to make a suggestion that we stop doing that. We need people more than ever to feel empowered to make decisions to better their lives and their communities. Will they be 100% right in every decision? No of course not, no one is. But calling them names to make them feel like if they even tried anything, it would be the wrong thing or worthless, is literally going to move society backwards at this time.

    I’d go further to say that the “smart” people and “experts” are exactly how we got into the mess we are in right now. We’ve been listening to them and obeying their guidance for too many decades.

    And one more thing….if you feel like your mental capabilities are so much more superior to others, then what are you using it for right now? Take those smarts and put them to good use! Now is your time to shine! We have huge local leadership voids all over this country and it’s time to get to work.

  144. Patricia,
    Fellow Capricorn here. Birthday Jan. 3.
    I am feeling similar differences in life. I am thinking it may be Saturn’s movement into Aquarius which happened March 24, I think.

  145. I live in NE Europe, and Thing that Cannot Be Named has restricted movement of citizens and services that can be offered quite seriously. I remember from some old discussion thread from here (or ADR) that you have followed some version of old school physical culture regime. If I remember right, you mentioned at least legendary Jack LaLanne and maybe Farmer Burns. As gyms and dojos are shut down where I live, actually our whole county is shut down, many are craving some minimal equipment training program, which can be done at home or at outdoors near home. Modern versions are not the best. Can you offer some tips how to find physical culture manuals from bygone masters of physicality? I believe that finding online sources for old manuals could offer help for many persons. I have found some, but more information is not bad in this.

  146. @Warren, you ask is it wrong to *want* science to fail, and then you give examples, but, strictly speaking none of your examples are of science, rather they are of technology.

    I often think people conflate these two endeavours, but to my mind they are quite different. Science is to pursue knowledge using specific techniques and disciplines aimed at setting aside personal bias, wishful thinking, and a natural tendency towards self-deception. There is nothing in the pursuit of knowledge that contra-indicates “connection to nature…community…spirituality” per se, in fact, scientific knowledge frequently demonstrates, fairly convincingly, that a) we are nothing special, but b) we do belong to this living earth from which we spring.

    What is seldom noticed (until you notice and can’t UNnotice) is that technology takes the opposite tack to science. It is the pursuit of “solutions” which starts by inviting personal bias, wishful thinking, and a natural tendency towards self-deception back into the driver’s seat, inventing and designing apparatus, methods and processes for asserting human control over the living earth, for fostoring the delusion of our separateness from it, and for fancying ourselves masters of all we survey.

    Technology (which produces profits, or at least attracts wealthy investors) has become such a massively significant source of patronage for academic and research institutions and for publishing houses, that it has over time (to my mind) perverted the pursuit of science, or at least squeezed it to the margins, and rendered the main public face of today’s “science” 99% technology.

    That is to say, the core impetus of our technology leads us to insanity, although the core impetus of science, pursued for its own sake, could probably lead out of it.

    My 2c, I guess.

  147. Are the new 5G microwaves going to slow cook everybody’s brains, like soft boiled eggs?

  148. @ isabelcooper

    I also meant to say that your point about endings also being beginnings is well-made. That’s something I need to spend more time contemplating, as I am prone to a certain myopia. It is frustrating, making the same mistakes over and over, and always this stuttering progress of two steps forward with a step and a half back again, but there you go.

  149. Thanks, JMG!
    I’m going to interpret that sentence as “All the cultures (that Schneider knows about) which use music for magical workings believe that the making of an instrument always involves the sacrifice of a living being.”

    For some reason which I can’t mention, I’m going to have lots of free time to read that book and see what other things the book has to say.

  150. For positive subjects, the recent break should give people a pause to reflect on themselves, their priorities, to turn inward and find their inner light, with less command and direction from outside. The changes they find will be smaller, subtle, but pervasive and far-reaching. Perhaps they will change to a healthier, more integrated way as a stairstep to part of the new future.

    Part of this is a lot of what we were doing was wasteful and stupid, irrelevant, and when challenged, not worthwhile. I believe we will see people stay with it, stay home, telecommute, and re-integrate with family in a more careful, thoughtful life.

    Waffles, they say Hell is other people, but really Hell is yourself. Christian hell isn’t a God –pushing you out— but rather a Christian man refusing to join, rejecting, rebelling, as a certain angel did. Why is that important? Because joy and such generally come with increasing one-ness. Rejection of God is the opposite, the attempt for maximum separation, in pursuit of an ever-larger ego. Which when you see ‘evil’ in the world or even in fiction, is quite clear. And that is your free will, God’s greatest gift to you, and the price of it, and you, existing: you can separate if you wish. Christianity knows this well, but since nobody bothers to read and study it anymore, you won’t find it down at your local Unitarian where all things are equal to all others, and all actions have equal results to all other actions in the apex of illogic. So Hell is you, cut off from God, your source, in your own little world, forever fighting an infinitely larger universe. Heaven is joining, relaxing, integrating with the truth and the larger universe, ordering one with everything, but you needn’t worry since you won’t get there very soon, just closer or further in a single lifetime. So “God” doesn’t do this: we do. You do. As respecting your will and your choices. How could it be other? If so, you, we, would be a slave. Would you rather? But because of this, the cussedness of human nature must long persist.

    This old Christian view would be similar to the wide round view of DeLoria, and against the new religion of “Progress”. Linear. Into the Monofuture™. Opposed to “primitive” cultures that are more generally relaxed and happy. Wouldn’t want to stop the Monofuture™ and have that happen. Just because today’s Pastors don’t read and believe certain bandwagon fashions doesn’t mean Christianity did even 100 years ago.

    Lake, I would open a discussion and dialogue with these parts as a friend and neighbor, ask them what they are, where they come from, where they live, and get to know them. The energy often comes from being pushed or pulled, so don’t grasp or recoil: sit. A wolf can indeed kill you. But he can sit together with you too if you’re patient.

    Muscle testing is similar. It relies on the idea that if you are relaxed and integrated with truth and the universe, your muscles are too. Therefore, if you are hearing or living lies, dis-integration, and things that are against the “Way”, your muscles will not be relaxed but tense. Since we have subtle machines that can measure it, it is an advance over a pendulum, perhaps.

    This goes with people being not very smart. Humans are deeply smart, but via their connection to the collective subconscious, their species, to the spirit realm, akoshic records, and to God that bubbles up in their bodies and emotions. Thinking, which seems so grand and important, are but colors on the surface of the waters in comparison, and not very deep indeed. That’s why smart people can be so dumb – much dumber than the average Joe, who at least can sense the winds a’blowin.

  151. JMG, I could have sworn you said something about people who die addicted to porn/masturbation might have to go through an unpleasant initial phase in the afterlife or something. I am glad to hear that I was incorrect about you saying that as it has been really bugging me for quite a while now!

    If I can ask another question, I have been trying to research folk magic traditions that would have been practiced in previous generations (1600’s-1900’s) in the Great Lakes area of the midwest. I have been coming up empty handed though. It seems like all the resources on American folk magic seem to focus on the Appalachians, Ozarks and Deep South.

    The most Northward folk magic traditions I’ve been able to find was “pow-wowing,” “The Long Lost Friend” and the Pennsylvania Dutch traditions, but nothing that was more in the Great Lakes area. Was there any unique folk magic in that area? It seems like there would have to have been but I keep coming up empty.

  152. Re the issue of quantomania

    From an analytics perspective, there are generally four types of data: categorical, ordinal, interval, and ratio.

    Categorical data is “type” with little more information glean-able aside from basic taxonomy. “This thing here is like that thing there but not like these other things over yonder.”

    Ordinal data allows for ordering, but little else. I can say that this thing precedes that thing, such as Runner A crossed the finish line before Runner B, but it tells me nothing about any other comparisons between them (such as how far ahead Runner A was).

    Interval data allows for meaningful differences, such as how far ahead Runner A was of Runner B. For example, the register on your electric meter (that number that keeps counting up) allows for the calculation of monthly electric consumption by taking the difference between the readings at the start of the month and the end of the month.

    Ratio data allows for proportional comparisons, but this requires an absolute zero to exist. Height would be a good example. I can say that Sue is x% taller than Bob. Temperature in deg C or deg F would *not* be ratio data (though would be interval data), whereas deg K(elvin) or deg R(ankine) would be.

    Meaningful analysis requires some form of comparison. This is, for me, where the Carrot of Truth* (given to me by Whomever She May Be) dashes everything to pieces, as it strips away any comparison with anything else. How does one derive meaning without comparison? It is a conundrum.

    * “You have a carrot. If that carrot is sufficient for your needs, what does it matter if the carrot is larger or smaller, straighter or more gnarled, brighter or duller than anyone else’s?”

  153. 1)
    North Atlantic Books is providing some free e-books, during the next days:

    The catalog of Heart of Albion Press includes several free e-book titles:

    2) JMG and Abdulaziz:
    Here is a list of books about Fortune’s fiction books, written by Gareth Knight. Read the content description at the links:
    The Occult Fiction of Dion Fortune
    Dion Fortune’s Rites of Isis and of Pan
    Esoteric Training in Everyday Life

    By the way, Skylight Press also has in print Fortune’s The Magical Battle of Britain.

    3) JMG:
    3a) Will M’s question on planes reminded me of asking you something (perhaps again? I lost track of this).

    You said once a physicist related the etheric plane to some of the nuclear forces. Do you have a source for this, or perhaps more details, if the source wants to remain anonymous to not fall in disgrace?

    This also reminded me of another answer you gave: at the time, I understood that it is not possible to use magic to change material consequences in time (for example, you can’t go back in time and avoid a glass cup shattering). Once “settled,” time dislocation is not possible. Except… a lot of your stuff I read, and some of your replies this week, seem to point to a softer instance of this. Perhaps the planes existing out of time, and the weird way the astral works would make changes here, in the denser physical plane, harder, but not impossible.

    My question is, the answer to altering the past is a clearcut no?

  154. Update on baby Hope (yes, I named her): before bed last night, Hope had managed to get all four of her feet under her to stand for almost a full minute. Not only did she survive the night, but this morning she is standing a little steadier and longer. I’ve put her out in the nursery pen with her mother, granddam and baby aunt and two baby uncles. Mama Madison is looking more recovered from her ordeal yesterday (it was hell on both of us getting that stillborn kid out – came out twisted like a pretzel in a yoga pose), and not only recognized her surviving kid, but is doting on Hope in a careful but attentive way.

    @Naomi: I’ll look into the selenium idea. I first suspected a premie because Madison wasn’t due to kid for at least another week to ten days, and when I read over the signs of a premature kid, the description was a perfect fit. I have to go to the feed shed to double-check, but I believe the goat mineral block we give the committee* has selenium in its preferred ratio. Still, I’ll take a look next time I’m out there, and the prayers are very much appreciated (yours as well, JMG).

    This morning’s invitation to the Spirit of the Land included a “Thank You for keeping Hope alive overnight,” and a request for continued strength for the tiny kid, along with the morning invitation, “if tobacco smoke pleases You, I invite you to share today’s cigarettes with me.”

    *-For the past three years, I have insisted we do not have a “herd” of goats, we have a committee. Some of the collective decisions they’ve made convinced me of that.

  155. JMG: in your comment to Marketa, you stated that “one of the reasons the cultural shift from the Renaissance to the early modern period was so traumatic for so many people”. I also find it traumatic. As a student of literature, I have always found delight in reading English lit from the pre-Enlightenment period (right back to Chaucer) and post-1800 or so, but virtually all English literature from the 17th and 18th centuries (and I had to read a lot of it when I was studying English in university) leaves me absolutely cold. It’s like reading something written in an England in some parallel universe, or as if some kind of “psychotic break” in the country’s egregor happened during that period. At least, that’s how I feel. Do you share the same impressions?

  156. A question about will: over on the other blog, I read about choosing focused goals, and choosing only a single goal at a time. I was just wondering about that: let’s say I had two goals that had nothing to do with each other, say a) learning the piano, and b) learning to grow vegetables. If I had 2 hours per day to pursue either or both of these goals, and I assigned 1 hour per day for each activity, why would that not work? Granted, you would not get as good at either goal if you didn’t focus on it exclusively, but you could make steady progress on both, albeit at a slower pace. Just trying to understand why it’s necessary to choose only a single goal at a time.

  157. Hello BCV. re: dogs and depression.
    You wondered if your new rescue dog suffers depression. My take, based on my own experience with a rescue dog, is that it may not be depression but a realistic response to a life full of chaos lacking in order so necessary for a happy dog. Your job as a caring owner is to bring order into his/ her life. When I took in my beagle/ chihuahua cross 7 years ago he was a complete mess. Shook whenever I came near him, tried to make himself still the rest of the time. The first time I picked him up, for his own safety, he soiled himself.
    What my wife and I did was to establish a strict routine in our house. We fed him after we had eaten and always at the same time. When we walked through doorways with him we always went first. We were establishing the pecking order right off the bat. This is very important with a pack animal like a dog. If there is no leader and hierarchy, then a beaten down dog has nothing to take his cues from.
    Every evening before dinner, we would sit on the kitchen floor with our glass of wine and have our half hour of catch up conversation. We didn’t make any fuss over the dog and eventually he joined us in the kitchen, albeit at a distance. Over time, and I’m talking months, he moved closer and closer to me, eventually putting one paw on my outstretched legs. It was six months before my wife was able to pet him, and me another week after that.
    My wife’s idea was to use simple commands and always the same ones when instructing Q (his name). It was reprogramming to the extreme but it worked. His bedtime was always at the same time, as were other activities such as walks, wake up and treats. Routine and well defined hierarchy so he knows what to expect and where he fits.
    Today he is the happiest, most enjoyable dog I have ever owned. I never have to leash him on our walks as he is totally tuned into me. He will stop on a dime, return to me, senses my anxiety if I sense potential danger for him and respond appropriately. When we began to relax the schedule somewhat, he now insists on the routine by nudging my leg with his soft little nose, or by landing on the chair beside me or my wife with an insistent pushing of his head under our arm or hand. I can’t begin to tell you how often he makes us laugh with his antics.
    So, no, I don’t thinks it’s depression. At this point his life is crap and there’s no reason yet for him to think it has changed just because there’s a new human in his life. Humans are trouble as far as he’s concerned and you’re going to have to prove they’re a lot better than that.

  158. I’m digging the mulberry seedlings out of the fenced-in garden and getting ready to prepare the first of the garden beds while caring for seedlings. We are near peak daffodils and the apricot and plum trees are blooming. Those of you who have mentioned peas remind me that I should prepare the containers in which I will plant them so I can get them started while the moon phase and sign are favorable.

    I have multiple books that I’m reading at any one time. Right now I’m re-reading Weird of Hali: Providence by our host and reading Druidism: The Ancient Faith of Britain by Dudley Wright and The Cosmic Doctrine by Dion Fortune, the latter along with our host’s commentary on it.

  159. Mr Greer,

    A grateful thank you for all that you bring to the world through your efforts.

    @ David By The Lake,

    Just my 2 cents worth from the peanut gallery: “Possibly understanding is the booby prize”. These words were said to me by a teacher many years ago as I puzzled about many of the same issues you bring up in your comments. Wishing you the very best.

    And about number mania (apologies, I cannot recall who brought this up): ‘Many of the things you can count, don’t count. Many of the things you can’t count, really count.’ Albert Einstein

    Best to all, Aged Spirit

  160. Hello Lovely Ecosophians!

    A quick note: many thanks for all of the folks who’ve responded to my offer of seeds and farms! I’ve been surprised and delighted by the volume of the response. If I haven’t gotten back to you yet I should within the next few days at the latest. Also, to make the seed selection process easier, I’ve put together a helpful list of available seeds on my blog:

  161. @denys regarding people ignoring your homeschooling advice, they are ignoring it because they don’t know its value yet. It’s something I learned in marketing: if you try to give something to a person and they don’t know its value then they’ll ignore it. You either have to wait for them to realize that your knowledge has value or you have to educate them on the value of what you know. Then they’ll come a knockin.

    Good luck!

  162. A few weeks ago, the term “neoliberalism” was being tossed around here. I suggested attempting to define it so we’d know whether we were discussing the same thing. So this morning I took an hour to go through a couple of books on the subject looking for a concise definition. The books were “”Never Let a Serious Crisis Go To Waste” by my hero, Phlip Mirowski of Notre Dame U., and “The Road From Mont Pelerin; The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective,” edited by Dieter Plehwe and Phiip Mirowki. I’d read both books in the past and had marked them up as I read. The latter book attempts an 11 point “summary” of neoliberalism in a section near the end, p. 434-440. That’s the sort of “summary” it is; six densely written pages.. The former book has expanded the “summary” to 13 points.

    Despairing of trying to boil this down to a reasonable length, I took the easy way out: Wikipedia. Here is the Wikipedia definition of neoliberalism: “Neoliberalism or neo-liberalism[1] is the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism and free market capitalism.[2]:7[3] It is generally associated with policies of economic liberalization including privatization, deregulation, globalization, free trade, austerity, and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society.”

    It’s sort of ironic that I turned to Wikipedia, because in the Postface section of “The Road From Mont Pelerin,” p.417-428, Mirowski delivers his rather entertaining condemnation of Wikipedia, and in particular some discussion among its participants on the topic of neoliberalism Way too much self-referentiality here, but quite entertaining, just the same.

  163. A question from the curious – are there any works of fiction that do a decent or half-decent job of depicting magic accurately with respect to how magic exists in the real world? Anything that comes close?

  164. @ Doodily Do: yes, as far as I can tell, the general public is becoming stupider. For maybe four decades or so I have been keeping an ever-expanding card-index of magazine and newspaper articles; it started as an astronomy catalogue and then expanded to include history and geography and current affairs. From the year 2010 onwards I felt the need for card with the heading for “idiots”, as no other keyword seemed adequate for the phenomena. (I’m now half-way through the second card.) Besides this I have other cards for “political correctness”, which is a kind of stupidity, but the “pure stupid” also needs space of its own. Examples from the Daily Telegraph: “Mothers worried that their 12-year-old daughters ‘enjoyed reading'” (13 Dec 2017); Judge Evan Ruth says Tolga Binburga can stay in Britain because he’s a member of the Get Money Gang (10 April 2019); Manchester has set aside a mobile-phone lane for pedestrians so they don’t need to look where they’re going (23 August 2019).

    In Poul Anderson’s first sf novel, the classic “Brain Wave”, everyone suddenly gets brainier as the Earth emerges from an interstellar mind-inhibiting field. It seems that, in reality, the reverse may have happened.

  165. @Waffles

    I recall intense fear of Hell in my forming years. Sometime around puberty I developed frequent (as in, every other night) Vivid Nightmares and Old Hag Syndrome. That lasted for several years and my parents would not believe me. I learned to shut up when my mother got the idea that I was eating to much in the evening and tried to help by cutting down my supper. The most annoying part of it was that by the time I was in highschool I would realize I was dreaming, wake up inside of the dream, only to realize that I had not woken up at all. Now that I think of it, sometime around then I learned to go seek a particular priest in the middle of my dreams and ask for help. The nightmares turned less frequent at that point and then faded altogether. I never asked, and he never say… but maybe he did assisted me in the astral plane.

    I had been at Caholic School since first grade, so I had been there like for 5 years when it first started. My adult mind tells me now that before that time Hell was something that happened to Other people who were Bad: thieves, murderers, politicians, atheists and (maybe) Jehova witnesses, bigamous men, everyone who showed themselves nude in public, all in one huge stinking basket. As any other child, I sometimes struggled to tell the truth when I was afraid it would bring me a punishment, but that was manageable enough for me to think too much about it. It was until I experienced sex drive that I realized that Hell was something that could happen to me, or to anyone for the matter (or at least any single person).

    I did not fully realize it back then, but I really was itching for the Good People to get persecuted again in my lifetime, probably really soon. In that scenario I would’ve gone, Confessed, and then be put in harms way and die a martyr before I had had much chance to sin again. Had I signed-in if a violent, fundementalist movement had arised in my town? It is hard to tell, since even back then I did not delude myself with the idea that sin commited in the name of the Lord is any different from ordinary sin… but the chances of me doing it anyways were not negligible.

  166. Re: placebo

    Can what you’re talking about be done all by yourself?

    A friend once made globuli for me, filled with good wishes through his hands. His idea was that you need some material object to get a good placebo effect.

    My intuition would be that you need intervention from another (human) being?

  167. In regards to your book ‘the secret of the temple’, you mentioned that one avenue for potentially promising research into what you call ‘temple tech’ would be in translating old German texts on cathedral building. I’d be interested in contributing some effort to such a project. Do you (or anyone else) have suitable leads on where to look? I’m sure there are a lot of useful texts on Google Books or Project Gutenberg, but while I can decipher the gothic script and rewrite it in English, I’m not at all sure where to start. Also, is there a gathering place for this kind of research, on the Green Wizards forum perhaps?

    David BTL, I was just thinking about the struggle you’re describing in the context of martial arts before I saw your comment. My 0.02 worth is that, while there are certainly times to put emotion aside, negative emotions in particular are often an indication that the problem is insufficiently defined. When I engage with a problem that threatens to pull me under in too much emotion of any kind, I tend to grapple long enough that I can tell I’m no longer effective, then put the emotional aspect aside, ignoring the problem entirely if I have to for the purposes of self-care, and then coming back to it once I’m feeling closer to my full capacity. Being ‘with’ one’s emotions while still being effective takes practice as everything does, and our problem solving seems to work best when emotions and reason are both engaged with the same problem.

  168. Can you recommend any good resources, persons or books to learn financial astrology?

  169. Archdruid,

    Re: Your response to Someone

    And the coin finally dropped.

    So the astral plane, the plane of concrete consciousness, is like flowing water. A stream, if you will. As it flows it picks up bits of this and bits of that, sometimes a sandbar forms and at other times they are scattered. Through the stream swim fish and other creatures, and someones time a dragon fly lands for a drink, causing a ripple on the surface of the stream.

    The things within the water are experiences of flow. The things that shift and move in the water, and are themselves shifted and moved by the water. They exist with limited relationship to the world outside of the stream. It isn’t until you pull the fish out of the stream that it gains meaning, definition, a relationship to a larger concept.

    It is concrete in the sense that it’s the only reality we fully experience, everything else is experienced as an interpretation and ripple upon the surface of the pond that triggers changes in our consciousness.



  170. Lady Cutekitten of Lolcat wrote last week, “What’s everyone reading while cooped up?”

    I’m about to finish Jared Diamond’s ‘Guns, Germs, and Steel,” which is absolutely fascinating and quite useful for understanding how diseases have spread through our species through history. I’m half way through Jorge Luis Borges’ “Book of Imaginary Beings,” which is quite a fun romp through our species’ archetypal flights of fancy. I’m also brushing up on bilingual books of the Russian fairytale “Конёк-Горбуно́к” and of excerpts of French authors from Descartes to Balzac to Flaubert to Proust. Hearing so many changes of literary voice in succession is a delightful experience and makes for a perfect bathroom reader.

    I have the Founders House page open to order John Michael’s full Wierd of Hali series. That should give me plenty of quality food for thought for a good while. I’ll have to pick something else to read while waiting for the Hali books to arrive. Let’s see… I think I might finally get around to reading Anthony Storr’s “Music and the Mind.” And, if the mail is particularly slow, Margaret Atwood’s “Negotiating with the Dead.” Does anyone else feel like they’re on a much needed long vacation?

  171. Dear Mr. Greer

    I have several questions to you, one is this:

    not very original, but how do you assess the value of live – as a passage of the soul – despite all the horrors our world
    presents. The horrible things peoiple and animals have to go through, is it a cosmic collateral damage, bad luck or something that
    makes sense in any way? “Fear and pain are among the greatest initiations of the awakening soul….” you wrote.

    I understand it to an extent but still, how can one be happy knowing what odds life does present?

    I realize that some few people must have a strong mind that can resist pain (Giordano Bruno…), but most of us aren’t heroes in any way.

    Even those socially or physically strong only appear so when they are in a good position, otherwise they whimper like anyone else.

    How can one philosophically make ends meet between appreciating life and accepting its odds?

    I realize this question is older than I am and has been talked through a lot most probably, but I’d be interested in your personal take.

  172. A second question to Mr. Greer:

    I have taken up “standing meditation” more or less.
    A good thing. Recently I actually managed purely through visdualization and imagination to move parts of my body
    or correct my posture. Amazing; I only caught a little glimpse of this. I am sure the potential is much beyond my imagination.

    I am visiting courses where I am taught (…). The teacher mentioned that a person with strong Qi can make people stand for much longer
    than they could on their own, and in general the “Qi field”, or “ling” or whatever it is called, can have an effect on people.

    I asked: ” but if all I have to do is stand, I surely would not have to visit you again…
    I could do it on my own forever after visiting you once..?”

    Of course, the teacher said, there is a reason to be taught in this spiritual practice.

    However, I noticed that in Westewrn esoteric practice people, as far as I know it, have managed things on their own.
    Have managed to improve their practice on their own.

    Where would you say is the line between “teacher necessary” and “can do it on your own”.

    I mean no doubt, great people can always have a beneficial effect, social contact can be very good.

    But people like Damian Echols had to do without….

  173. A third question to Mr. Greer:

    You’ve written or translated “The Academy of the Sword” by Gerard Thibault.

    No doubt the West also has its own interesting tradition in Martial Arts.

    I suppose however it went down with thze advent of guns and the end of feudalism, which lingereed on much longer in the East?

    One thing I notice is the Western martial arts are always focused on weapons, swords or rapiers and so on.

    Of course boxing and wrestling are a thing too.

    But would you say, the Eastern traditions are richer than the Western traditions?

    Also what I am interested in: the lotus seat is only known from India, traditionally, right?

    Is it true that Western traditions of meditation, martial arts from Babylon, ancient Greece or so are less focused
    on the human body than the traditions of China or India?

  174. Hi JMG,

    I’ve found the poem “Looking Across the East River” from Weird of Hali: Red Hook very helpful for keeping a balanced sense of perspective over the last few weeks, to the point that I’ve memorized it and have been reciting it for myself and a couple of others, who also appreciated it.

    So first of all, thank you! Second, would you be willing to post the entire text of the sonnet (and/or allow me permission to do so, with attribution of course)? It would be nice to have it available in a publicly-accessible, written form that I could point folks to, while being sure to respect your ownership of the work.

  175. JMG, I have an email address for you that was functioning back in 2017. I’ll send an email right now and if you haven’t received it by the time you approve this message, let me know and we’ll figure out another way to connect. My username is also a gmail account name, so that works too.

  176. @ Denys

    You reminded me of something my father (85) mentioned often.
    His mother in North Dakota was extremely proud of the fact that all seven of her children lived to adulthood.

    I don’t think most of us would ever think it would happen any different.

  177. Offlist to Richard Pelto: for frack’s sake, a 31-screen lecture (yes, I counted) is not a reasonable comment, even an open post. If you want to post that somewhere else online, and include a link here, that’s fine, but just dumping it here as a comment is the online equivalent of buttonholing somebody at a social occasion and subjecting them to an hour-long lecture on the gold standard while staring intently the whole time at their left ear. You might consider getting a free blog at Blogger or WordPress, and posting things like that there — and yes, if you do so, a brief comment here with a link would be fine.

  178. @ Russell Cook

    Shoe repair is an excellent skill! Most modern, cheap shoes can’t be repaired. I know because I’ve asked my local shoe repair guy and been disappointed. Quality, all-leather sewn shoes can be repaired endlessly.

    While on the subject, are you familiar with Shoe Goo? It’s a miracle product that lets you reattach the flopping sole back to the sneaker and that repair lasts and lasts. We use it all the time to keep sneakers wearable until the top wears out. It is NOT superglue which doesn’t work the same way, nor is it similar to epoxy.

    Have you tried making slippers? I have and they’re cheap and not difficult.

    Slipper making gives you a feel for sewing rights and lefts, working in confined spaces, and fitting them. Use heavy-duty upholstery remnants for the soles and anything you like for the uppers and linings. There are many patterns available both online and from commercial pattern companies. Whatever slipper you make will be better than that cheap junk at the dollar store and will last longer.

  179. John, thanks for this. Amtrak could use some help and some additional funding, but it’s still the one really civilized mode of long-distance travel we’ve got left.

    Ecosophian, it’s not a stupid question. It’s simply that the difference doesn’t become apparent until you start working with will. That very often is motivated by desire — and often very silly desires indeed; I got into magic in the first place, and thus began will training, because I had my head stuffed full of cheap fantasy novels and I wanted to be just like the wizards in them — but after a certain amount of work and reflection it becomes possible to set aside desires and start to give the will its freedom. So it’s one of those things you can only know by doing.

  180. Peter van Erp:
    Glad you’re enjoying ‘The Witches’! I’ve recommended it several times in one or another comment on this blog because it’s such a good study of the interplay of religion, culture, and politics in 17th century Massachusetts. Given the tensions in eastern Massachusetts at the time, it would have been more surprising if the witch scare hadn’t happened.

    I’d love to give an update about our garden, but it’s still sitting under a goodly layer of snow. A few hundred seedlings have been started indoors under lights and I bring them out to the greenhouse for some real sun every day I can; it’s not heated so I’ve got to schlep them all back inside every evening, which gets old pretty quickly.

    I’m looking forward to seeing all the daffodils I planted in front of the house last fall.

    We have eight gnarly apple trees of unknown variety on our property which desperately need pruning, but I’ve ordered a Honeycrisp and a baking apple to join them, a couple more elderberries to go with the five I’ve got and, just to try out, two hazelnut trees which, I’m told, will provide nuts during my lifetime.

    In mid-February, when even the hardiest of Vermonters is getting tired of winter, we invited a half-dozen neighbors over for light conversation and dessert. Our neighbors are lovely, well-educated people who instantly lend a hand in any emergency, large or small; we’re lucky to live among them. This being Vermont, they are all moderately to full-on left of center.

    In the course of the evening I happened to mention that we had homeschooled our children from kindergarden through high school. You could have heard a pin drop. As the American Left is quite supportive of public schools and teachers’ unions, the response to my comment was uniform disapproval, unspoken but still palpable. Even hearing how each of our kids has turned out well and is successful in their post-schooling endeavors did nothing to reduce the tension – and I hadn’t even mentioned why we’d decided to homeschool. That might have pushed them off the edge.

  181. Robert Gibson,

    I think Lewis tried to prove too much in that exchange, but something like his argument might work. The problem is that if rational thought has to be free from all non-rational influences, then arguably nothing counts as rational thought whether you’re a materialist or not. Our brains implement rationality only imperfectly on any account.

    On the other hand, there’s an interesting line of argument stemming from James Ross and developed by Edward Feser that if mechanistic materialism were correct, then our mental activity, being nothing but physical activity, would be radically underdetermined, and there would be no fact about whether we were reasoning correctly or misreasoning incorrectly. We couldn’t even know ourselves, even in principle.

    For example, I might think, “If p then q; p; therefore q,” and this could be correct reasoning. But maybe I meant to think, “If q then p; p; therefore q,” but got confused. The argument is that which of those two is the case simply can’t be known, by anyone, on a materialist account, because which one happened is not a fact about the matter in my brain.

    (h/t to Nick at Slate Star Codex for this)

  182. About divination, I thought that in the confined space of an apartment, there couldn’t happen as many things as outside! Ironically, I myself had today a divination which hinted at a cul-de-sac or something similar for one of my ongoing projects at home.

    Kfish3000, and JMG, in my opinion, the fact that the 21th century is, so far, less disruptive than the first half of the 20th century, may have to do with the fact that nowadays, politicians aren’t as eager as they once were to go to war against each other at the drop of a hat. In other words, wars between non-third-world sovereign states, have become unpopular. A second factor may be the sheer ossification of the current world order.

    A further thing, that came to my mind, and which wasn’t yet mentioned on this blog, is that mechanical and electronical clocks have a deep and profound impact on our current lifestyle, for example, when timetables are concerned. Due to technical limitations, at some point in the Long Descent, they will mostly become unavailable, espeially during the deindusrial Dark Ages. That, in turn,, will profoundly change lifestyles and attitudes toward time.

  183. Has anyone else been using cold showers or baths for routine daily bathing, as was discussed ecosophially a few months ago? I tried it out at the start of winter and never looked back.

    I started out trying showers two different ways: a regular hot or warm shower finished with a cold full (body and hair) rinse at least a minute long, or all cold from the start. I’ve now settled on the latter all the time, since in the early parts of a shower you only need brief contact with the water and by the time the final rinse comes, I’m more ready for it. Plus, all-cold has more of the advantages mentioned below.

    I don’t think the route of changing to gradually cooler temperatures just on the verge of discomfort is likely to work as well. In my experience, my discomfort threshold for just about anything never changes unless I go past it. However, starting in, say, midsummer should be easier than in midwinter. It’s also likely to be easier farther south, for obvious reasons, as I discovered on returning to New England after having begun the routine during a visit to North Carolina. In such moments of doubt, an appropriate affirmation (I started out with, “Jumping [name of deity taken in vain here] on a [expletive] pogo stick, that’s COLD!”) can be helpful. Okay, just kidding about that. Kind of. What’s actually helpful is ideation that acknowledges the sensation of cold while not focusing on discomfort per se. “This will be/is intense!” is a good place to start.

    The main advantage is, I feel great afterward and through the day, unlike after hot showers which often left me a bit enervated. I don’t know if the improvement is from the physiological or the etheric effects, if such a distinction can even be made. Either way, it’s obvious that our evolutionary ancestors had to do a lot more adapting to cold water than to hot. Wim Hof, another cold bathing advocate, who basically makes his living jumping into unreasonably cold water and staying there for an unreasonably long time, points out that the blood vessel cells that respond to temperature changes by redirecting blood flow are muscles, and can improve with exercise as much as other muscles do.

    Other circumstantial benefits I’ve noticed include: saving fuel and money on hot water; saving water in general (because I’m not tempted to stand there luxuriating, and also because I can turn the water on and off instantly as needed without having to fiddle with temperature adjusting each time); saving time (for those previous same reasons); people or machines not being able to surprise-scald or -chill me by turning on a tap while I’m showering; no steam or condensation in the bathroom afterward; and not being dependent on a high-energy technology for a basic need. Also, before my wife found out I was taking cold showers (see below), she was asking me what new hair product I’d been using that had improved its texture so much.

    Here’s a caveat, though. I usually shower in the morning, and within a minute or two afterward I feel normal again temperature-wise. So one night I thought it would be okay to shower in the evening instead, fifteen minutes before bedtime. Wrong! When we got in bed, from my wife’s reaction, you’d think I’d tossed a snowman in with her in my place. I had to explain about the cold showers, to stop her from calling an ambulance (or perhaps an undertaker or vampire hunter) on me.

    So far she’s been disinclined to try my “Eau Très Froide” brand of hair conditioner for herself.

    Another caveat: as with exercise, cold baths or showers while ill or fighting off an infectious illness would probably be unwise.

    JMG and other commenters who suggested trying this, thank you!

  184. Your Kittenship,

    The book was Daily Life in 1950s America by Nancy Hendricks. I stumbled on a used copy, and found it quite interesting, and a very well written book. The one complaint I have with it is that there’s a lot that it touches on but doesn’t go into too much depth on, but then again, trying to cover a decade when so much changed in one book is quite a challenge!


    I have a comet which may be in my natal chart: I know it became visible sometime in the month I was born, but not the date. In any case, I don’t seem to notice it, so I don’t see the need to look into it. If someone had done that, I might’ve seen what they said, but unless I stumble on it, I don’t think they do much of anything.

  185. To those who said jetpacks would never happen, you can now fly them for only $5k for 2 days.

    I saw a documentary on this company, flights are dangerous and last about 20 seconds if the jetpack doesn’t explode first. The owner got serious burns on his legs but apparently it’s all worth it to fulfill a boyhood dream. Where do I sign up?

  186. Dear JMG,
    How do I square your oft-stated view that the universe doesn’t care about what happens to us (not sure about your preferred wording here) with that deep, unshakeable sense that the entire universe and everything that happens in it is actually filled with meaning? That in some sense the fashionable line that “everything happens for a reason” is correct, and that events pushes us all along in our collective development.

    Would you say that you ever feel something similar? Is the apparent contradiction just that the universe doesn’t care about our egos, but actually does care about us a more hidden level? A psychological illusion? Something else?

  187. I just found a TED talk by the author of a book that my teacher of psychoanalysis lent me. The Myth of Objectivity by Denise Najmanovich. In it she talks mostly about the starting points on Galabes, the notion that reality is culturally determined to a much greater degree than we imagine. It’s in spanish but the captions are good.

    In other news, I just ordered my physical copies of The Cosmic Doctrine and The Mystical Qabbalah. I saw you say that they are intended to be studied together. Could you to suggest a general hint to do it, or should I figure it out on my own?

    Also, I’ve recently been watching a lot about the new DOOM videogame (it’s a really cheesy ultra-masculine power fantasy, but I enjoy it). It got me thinking, with all it’s graphical realism, if digital renders of different kinds could be helpful conduits for astral symbolism. Could an effective initiation ritual be performed in a virtual space? Could there be a lodge that meets entirely on, say, VR Chat? I guess each one should add local incense to have real scents in your phenomenology. I am very curious to explore this empirically in the future, but do you have a guess at what could result from it?

    Thanks as always


  188. @JMG re India,

    No dispute that there are many possinle ecotechnic cultures and no one-size-fits-all model. For that matter, I don’t even expect India to make it through the long descent in anything like its current form. It’s too crowded and it’s positioned to absorb the very worst effects of climate change. My best guess is that the coming Volkerwanderung will end with most of the inhabitents of India (along with Pakistam and Bangladesh) jumbled together across the newly-arable plains of Siberia, which will have long-since ceased to be a part of Russia.

    Still it is interesting to note that India presently uses a number of technologies that you have previously argued won’t be sustainable in the post-fossil-fuel world, such as internet, nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and commercial air travel (though the latter, like the personal automobile, is only for the rich). Which leads me to believe that if preaent-day India can manage those things with one barrel of oil per capita per year, then ecotechnic America or post-migration Siberia will be able to do the same with a hogshead of ethanol. (And I do hope, even if it’s a silly hope, that the parts of the world that end up using ethanol as fuel will bring back units like the hogshead and the butt).

  189. @John: Agreed–I’ve become very fond of Amtrak, and to a lesser extent, the bus system. (They’re also much more willing to kick out people who insist on talking Very Loudly on their cell phones, which airlines won’t, much as I might like them to do so somewhere over the Arctic Sea.)

    Two general questions on living closer to the land: has anyone heard more about compressed-wood pellets? My parents use those to heat the house, and they’re at least supposed to be eco-friendly. Wiki says the energy used to make them is between 11% and 18% of their content, which sounds pretty good, but Wiki isn’t the most reliable source.

    Second, what’s a good balance between supporting my local produce-selling farmers and growing my own crops? I’d like to do both, especially since we have some very good people around here.

  190. Forgot: @David BTL: Oh, I hear you on that! It always seems like I’m going over similar ground, ideally with better perspectives but not always. It’s a long, slow process. I’m glad if any of my insights are helpful, though I’m largely flailing around over here myself, most of the time. 😛

  191. JM, thank you for the class picture from the Isle of Misfit Toys. In reference to a comment of mine you recently replied to, “I came upon the name in the unsuspected pages of De Quincey (Writings, Volume XIII) and learned that it belonged to a German theologian who, in the early seventeenth century, described the imaginary community of Rosae Crucis – a community that others founded later, in imitation of what he had prefigured.” (Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius ;- ) And now I know that I’m on the board of a “Mercury Charity,” although I am working to add economic development to our core. My goal is to develop a repair and manufacturing capability (large appliance, commercial and farm equipment repair developing the capabilities to manufacture ‘appropriate’ technologies) out in the back of Contra Costa County, CA. Your student, whether you’d have me or not…

  192. @Russell Cook

    I’ve been making and wearing turnshoes for about a decade now. I get lots of positive comments
    on the street, even some inquiries about custom work, but it’s hard to find people willing to pay
    what the shoes are “worth”. So I make them for myself and for folks I’m close to.

    The skills definitely have transferred to smaller leatherwork — bags, belts, wallets — that people are more
    interested/willing to pay for.

    I’ve found that it’s hard to get soles to reliably attach with contact cement alone. And I have the same concerns about its long-term availability! I’ve been practicing welted construction lately, which you can do without a last and is entirely stitched, though cement does help hold things together. The Carreducker blog has tons of good info on this, though you do have to dig a bit.

  193. Is Levi the origin of the stolistes cup used in the OGD and Stella M (i.e. the triangle, circle & crescent design)? If not what is the oldest example of it? I have always wondered about this. Thank you.

  194. Hello jmg

    Something that I have been thinking is the possibility of animal uplift being taken up as a substitute for A. I. Technology when people realise that the latter is not possible.

    I also wonder about whether a ecotechnic civilisation could perform uplift and the two possible ways to do that would be good old selective breeding or something similar to an experiment some team did a while back where they improved a mouses intelligence via injection of human glial cells into the mouses brain.

    What are your thoughts?

  195. Walt,

    I’ve been cold showering for 9 years now and yes it too leaves me feeling like a million dollars. And it saves on the energy bill! In mid-winter when our well water is about 38 degrees it can be a challenge starting a shower. On those days I brace myself with a deep breath but after 30 – 45 seconds I’m fine.

    It has made it easier to swim in cold water in the summer. I used to be one of those people who would painfully work my way into the cold ocean a step at a time. These days I walk right out there and dive in.

  196. For anyone looking for low equipment needs “physical culture” that is easy to incorporate into any routine while stuck at home for Unmentionable Reasons (that’s what I call my children 😉 ) I recommend: Five Factor Fitness (

    It looks dumb, but bear with me – my boss who used to kayak 2 hours across a small straight to get to work used this to stay in shape when he traveled for work. When the buffest guy you know says he only works out twenty five minutes five days a week, you know it’s probably good. While Harley has the obligatory diet regime, it is ignorable, but it’s also not bad.

    You need: a bench, or lacking that, armless straight back chairs enough to lie down across but with your feet on the floor. Rotate the last one so you can move your arms to the side. At least four sets of free weights, increasing in weight so you can go up each week or two. Starting and increasing in size according to your baseline strength. I started with large jars, and bags of beans until I bought some real ones.

    Ability to do five minutes of cardio – I run up and down my stairs and do jumping jacks.

    Get ripped!

  197. Re Poul Anderaon’s “Brain Wave,” which Robert Gibson mentioned:

    I read that book years and years ago; I didn’t think much about it at the time, but the ending of that story seems like a pretty clear rejection of the myth of progress:

    To sum up, just a few months after every critter here on Earth has had its intelligence quadrupled, some scientists build a faster-than-light spaceship (using sliderules, of course) and fly off to explore the galaxy. They find hundreds and hundreds of inhabited planets; on every one of them the inhabitents evolved an average IQ somewhere between 100 and 150, developed social and technological complexity similar to mid-20th-century Earth, and then settled down into a steady-state existence.

    As it turned out, once society reached a certain level of complexity, increasing your intelligence and adapting newfangled technologies was no longer adaptive: it didn’t help an individual out-survive or out-reproduce the rest of the species, so evolution didn’t select for it. The characters in Anderson’s book are fully aware that mankind would have ended up doing the exact same thing if a bizarre cosmic accident hadn’t intervened in our development.

  198. I just want to say that it’s really great to read about all the beautiful and productive things everyone is into when we’re not being held hostage by corporate fear-mongering. Thank you, JMG, for excluding THAT topic this week! This is great.

  199. Scotlyn wrote, “I want to ask Cristophe (from comment threads in more than one post) to explain what ‘muscle testing’ is and how it is done.”

    Scotlyn, you’re in luck. In the most recent Magic Monday on John Michael’s other blog, I wrote Syfen an explanation of muscle testing, titled The Mystical Art of Muscle Testing. It’s on the first page of comments. I’ll copy it into a separate comment here so John Michael can decide whether to put it through. If it doesn’t follow this comment, you can read it at:

  200. Two Magic Monday’s ago Syfen replied to my post by asking what exactly muscle testing is.

    Muscle testing, also known as applied kinesiology, is a technique used by various alternative health practitioners, most regularly by chiropractors. In a clinical setting it involves testing the strength of one of the patient’s large muscles (commonly the posterior deltoid or biceps femoris in a prone position) while touching or manipulating a point on the body. If the point being contacted is misaligned, injured, imbalanced, or otherwise problematic, touching it will weaken the entire organism, including the muscle being tested. This allows the practitioner to zero in on the exact disturbance that wants correction. Yes, the body wants to be in balance and wants disturbances rebalanced. In fact, sometimes an obvious problem will not test weak until some other problem that the body wants addressed first gets identified and corrected. Some bodies behave more willfully than others, and some seem downright cantankerous.

    Many different kinds of imbalance can be tested. Meridians’ primary contact points can be muscle tested in set sequence to decode complex imbalances. Then the causative meridian’s points can be tested to identify which needs adjustment. Simple vertebral subluxations can be muscle tested easily. For more complex subluxations the bone can be tugged in the corrective direction (tests strong) or tugged in the direction of imbalance (tests even weaker.) Muscle disorders can be identified by pressing on the target muscle or by touching the muscle’s regulatory points on the torso and cranium while testing for body weakness. Further specificity can be gained by spreading the fingers apart or pinching together along the muscle body; whichever one weakens the body indicates over-release or over-contraction of the muscle.

    Anyone can practice muscle testing themselves by having a friend start by testing the normal strength of a large muscle group (commonly the lateral deltoid while standing) followed by testing while either person touches suspected imbalances. When the muscle tests weaker, you have found a point where some kind of attention would strengthen the entire organism. What kind of attention? That’s where experience, training, and artistry come into play — there are as many types of imbalance and adjustment as there are healthcare modalities.

    As for muscle testing as a mystical practice, the same idea of the whole organism weakening under any increased stress or disorganization can be applied to asking simple yes/no questions. A true/yes/balancing answer tests strong while a false/no/imbalancing answer tests weak. This is more difficult to practice than the contact point testing, which works on everyone. Because the stress/disorganization comes from holding a question, but not its answer, in your mind, you have to be able to get out of the way enough to think about the question but let your body answer it for you — no easy task! Some personalities try very hard to control the outcome and can’t let their body/instinct/subconscious respond at all. Also, if you don’t trust the friend testing your strength, especially for revealing questions, you may find it very difficult to access your body’s truth. Again artistry and experience come into play as triangulating in on food allergies, long forgotten injuries, or herbal remedies by only asking yes/no questions can be a complex dance. If you ask a vague question, your body may respond to its own understanding of it, which may be quite different from your conscious understanding!

    Some people can practice muscle testing on themselves. Others find it too difficult to hold the muscle being tested at a constant resistance, the limb doing the testing under willful control, and the mind in a relaxed, pass-through-conduit state but still concentrating on a question. Although I have met people who test by trying to break a circle of their index finger and thumb, I have never found that technique to work well at all. Our finger muscles are under our active conscious control so much of the time that it becomes difficult to relinquish that control to let the body speak through them. I prefer testing the large muscle of my iliopsoas by pressing down on the thigh of my lifted leg.

    Asking your body or subconscious for answers to questions is always an act of supplication, never of domination. Be very, very careful asking questions using muscle testing because your deeper self can become quite resentful if it feels you are trying to steal goodies from its cookie jar. That’s dark magic, and it will burn you badly. I worked with health care professionals using applied kinesiology for many years before tentatively attempting to use it myself for similar contact point work. It was years after that that I cautiously began using it for questions about my body and its health. Any time I am unsure whether a question is in my body’s interest I ask, “Is it OK to ask you this question?” When I get a no response, I do not ask it, period.

    To reinforce that point I will conclude with a paragraph from the previous post: We all have far more contact and connection with our strangely intelligent and willful bodies and psyches than we tend to recognize. Our bodies are continually monitoring and adjusting our blood pressure, glandular secretions, chemical imbalances, temperature, immune responses, etc., etc., etc. Our bodies know so much that never comes into our conscious awareness, and, if we can figure out how to respect them enough to communicate with them as equals, they are happy to share that information. The body truly is a temple, complete with oracle. Our bodies’ goals like health and survival may be very different from our personalities’ goals like wealth and power, and they will certainly not share their truth with us if we try to control and manipulate them. They may well lie to us if we try, even to their own detriment. Never try to harness a wild thing; content yourself to follow alongside it wherever it is going.


  201. @ Walter F. I also have switched to taking a cold shower every day. I started in January. What I do is take my regular hot shower basically to clean off well. I find hot water washes the grim and body odor off far more effectively. Then I slowly turn the nob all the way to cold. Some days it doesn’t last to long other days I can stand in the cold shower quite a long time. I have found first it really makes you feel alive but far more importantly it can really calm me down after stress. It is not like anything else I have tried in my life for it’s calming power. It’s like it is washing some kind of spiritual crud of my body 😉

  202. Peter S.,

    I know you asked JMG, but you’ve hit on something that’s a bit of a hobby horse of mine at the moment, so I hope you’ll indulge my comment.

    The sense that everything is meaningful isn’t so much wrong as it is incomplete. Everything happens for multiple reasons, pointing in all sorts of directions. So it’s always possible to filter out a pattern that seems to be going in one particular direction. That pattern is real, but it’s not the only one. You might trying looking for things that are acting against whatever direction things seem to be going, and then for things that heading in a direction completely unrelated to either.

    Evolution, physical and otherwise, is simply adaptation to this conflict. To the extent that there’s an overall direction to evolution, it’s one that emerges from the need for continual adaptation. Even here there are at least two main directions: greater specialization vs. greater generalization.

    Finally, remember that while the universe as a whole might not care, plenty of things in the universe do.

    (You may or may not find David Chapman’s web-book Meaningness helpful. It’s been a major influence on my thinking on this subject, but it comes at it from a different angle than I am here, since Chapman is an atheist who is mainly trying to persuade his fellow atheists that neither rationalism nor nihilism are correct. Even so, once I’d absorbed what he was talking about, especially with regards to nebulosity and pattern, I found it incredibly helpful.)

  203. Hi JMG,

    I was curious if you had started to look around for Baroque vinyl in your area. I remember reading you were thinking of making the switch over from cds. If your neck of the woods is anything like it is around here you should find it available for VERY little. I actually got into classical just because it was one of the only genres that hadn’t had it’s price greatly inflated over the last 20 years (also I liked it enough to give it a try) I got into the hobby in the early 90s when everywhere was just swimming in cheap records and it’s always seemed right to spend $10 and come away with a little stack.

    I always get really excited when the value I place on something is far out of sync with the value the market places on it, in my favour (less excited when it goes the other way…), and classical records are definitely that, so I hooked into that motor for a while. Barring a few exceptions, like 20th century stuff I am not looking for anyway, and Glenn Gould recordings, it’s all readily available for next to nothing. I discovered I loved classical guitar and Early music as well.

    Anyway, I would encourage you to check it out when certain events have run their course, it’s a good time in the classical bins! About a month ago a record store was going out of business near me, they often priced their classical records at about $2.98 each, but they had loads of it stored in the back (I think I was the only one buying it – this is true at every record store I’ve done it at, someone is always happy/surprised to see me with a stack) and they just priced it all at $.98 and I ended up buying a big box full at 50% off. I was quite pleased about that!

    From taking chances on random records I came to discover that I quite loved Baroque music, and I sort of slowly taught myself about it by just buying stuff based on the dates the composer lived (I realized generally I like the earlier stuff the best) and learned about it piece by piece through the anecdotes and observations included in the liner notes. I wouldn’t say I “know it” like an expert, but I found it very sympathetic to my music taste, I think because I listened to a lot of death metal (and other types of metal) when I was younger, and on occasion, still do, and there is something similar and “shreddy” about Baroque composers. I noticed that they did not include tempos on their music, so the pieces can be played at any speed. Everything I’ve read about them makes me believe they were showmen (I read some notes about Bach being proficient at the foot pedals to a remarkable degree) and that they basically played these pieces as fast as they possibly could.

    I don’t imagine this is exactly your cup of tea, but this is an example of the sort of “Baroque-ish” sections in death metal that prepared me for this stuff (the link is to a youtube video, but it is just still image with audio – it jumps to the bit I mean):

    I kept thinking I should mention this to you but wasn’t sure how to work it in. Metal music is a bit like fantasy painting in that it requires a great deal of technical skill just to sit at the table, somehow these skills are seen as “stupid” even though they are incredibly difficult to learn and in fact come much closer to older arts, it’s just not in fashion, but stubbornly sticks around. I think typically you are supposed to “play with feeling” but often metal guys will “play scales” as it is widely smeared – but it seems to me that what they are doing owes a lot to the mathematical quality that is in a lot of Baroque music. Also, I quite enjoyed The Shoggoth Concerto, and the character of the girl that played metal made me think you would be amused to learn about this, if you weren’t already aware!


  204. Hi John Michael,

    Have you ever heard of the acronym: RTFM?

    The acronym is short hand for: Read the F#$%^^ Mannual. 🙂

    Hope you and Sara are doing well?

    Despite all the craziness of late, yesterday was a glorious autumn day. The sun now has less bite and the summer plants are winding down. Still the sun has enough bite to nicely warm the skin and produce a nice torpor during the late afternoon. Over the past two weeks I have been assisting many folks in distress, and I need to recall that I must also take care of myself. Yesterday afternoon was my first quiet time in about a fortnight.

    I’m not just rambling here, I do actually have a concern that is bothering me, and believe that you may be able to provide some much needed guidance. Unfortunately in between all the running around and general craziness I was not in a good frame of mind to celebrate the autumn equinox. I have been sharing a lot of peoples heavy emotional load and it is not a light burden – there is a good reason I live in the middle of nowhere! I feel very uncomfortable about this lack as it is my first lapse in maybe six or seven years. And particularly this is not a wise time to have missed that, but all the same it happened.

    Do you have any advice for me as to what to do?



  205. With respect to turnshoes, perhaps buy one of their products and see how they are made: Revival Clothing. They’ve been in business for a long time, and do quite a bit of work with the Historical European/Western Martial Arts communities and the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). JMG is somewhat of a legend among these folks because of his pioneering work in translating Thibault. Back then quality information on historical western martial arts written in English was next to non-existent. With all the newer works and scholarship in this area today, his translation has stood the test of time.

  206. Ashara, no, we’ll never be able to prevent pandemics. Microbes make up the majority of living biomass on Earth — and in fact your body is about 10% microbes by weight, and if you got rid of them, you would die. Since microbes are always mutating, like all other living things, and poking their metaphoric noses into new habitats, again like all other living things, at random intervals a new one is going to find its way into human bodies and make them sick, and if it’s got the adaptations it needs to pass from person to person, you get an outbreak. That’s an ordinary part of life on Earth — and as we’ve seen with antibiotics, all that happens when we come up with a way to stop microbes for a while is the microbes mutate their way around it.

    Your Kittenship, sticky sweet. Thank you.

    Reece, nope. Everyone who watches has a favorite TV show that they think I just have to see. If it’s come out in manga, though, I’ll consider that — well, when I have the spare time to read for pleasure, at least.

    BB, never heard of ’em. I prefer my humans to be produced the natural way, not designed.

    Patricia O, I know! I was outside earlier, going to the post office and the local Asian grocery, and all the trees are budding; flowers are coming out all over the place; it’s a gorgeous sunny spring day, and countless things are going on that are far more interesting than The Subject We’re Not Discussing This Week.

    Kimberly, many thanks for all of these.

    Jessica, thanks for this. That’s the way civilizations end in the real world — sudden cataclysms are strictly Hollywood.

    Simon, some people can do that. Others find the cards useful. Make the experiment and see what results you get!

    Robert, that’s an excellent point. I think of monist materialism as belonging to the same category of beliefs as strict solipsism: that is, absurdities that are deliberately unfalsifiable and so cannot be disproved by logical means. People who claim to believe in monist materialism don’t actually behave in accordance with it — for example, they expect their words to be treated as meaningful communications that express the opinions and intentions of a conscious person, not as mechanical noises made by a meat robot who has no consciousness, no intentionality, and no personhood — but the logic of monist materialism is drawn up so as to close off the possibility of falsifiability, so it’s immune to logical disproof. (The way to disprove them, of course, is to treat people who claim to believe that as mindless mechanical meat robots — when they say something, respond with “How very odd that this object is making noises that seem to resemble language! Since there’s no conscious being in there, though, I know that none of those noises actually means anything,” and so on.)

    Reese, yeah, I thought so. I wonder if they’re even taking transmission losses into account.

    Juhana, an excellent idea! Many books on physical culture can be downloaded free of charge from various online sources — for example, Google Books has quite a bit you can download in PDF format.

    Dennis, oh, probably.

    Sylvia, that’s a fair interpretation.

    Jasper, I hope you’re right.

    JAD, well, how about Harry Middleton Hyatt’s study of folklore from Adams County, IL? That’s available free for the downloading here, and should give you some hints.

    Packshaud, thanks for these. As for your questions, (a) I’ve long since lost the reference, I’m sorry to say, and (b) I’m far from sure it’s possible to change the past, but it’s certainly possible to change the way the past influences the present.

    Dfr1973, huzzah for Hope!

    Ron, yes, very much so.

    Jbucks, of course you can do things that way, and in fact everyone has to do that to some extent — we all have meals to fix and eat, laundry to take care of, and so on. The more of your intention you can focus on one thing, however, the further you will get with it — and if it’s something really challenging, or really important, you want to focus all the will you can spare on that one thing, and as far as possible leave everything else aside.

    Aged Spirit, you’re welcome and thank you.

    Char, Dion Fortune’s novels, especially The Goat Foot God and The Sea Priestess, do a very good job of describing how magic works in practice. (They were written with that purpose in mind.)

    Admin, of course you can do it for yourself. A great deal of healing magic works that way. All you have to do is convince your subconscious mind, and the rest follows.

    Cleric, thank you for this. You’re one of a very small number of people who’ve contacted me about The Secret of the Temple. As yet there’s no gathering place online or off, nor any organization; for now, you can keep me posted via these open posts, if you like. As for where to start, I don’t know the medieval German literature on the subject well enough to be able to suggest anything specific, but if my core thesis is correct, documents on monastic agriculture and the design and construction of monasteries from the time of the Crusades onward might be a good place to start. Alternatively, since a lot of Irish monks came to Germany very early on and I’m fairly sure that the Irish monastic traditions knew at least a rudimentary form of the secret, any surviving materials from the earliest days of German monasticism might be worth searching.

    Fitzsnaggle, I haven’t looked into it, because nearly all the books cost an enormous amount!

    Varun, good! Yes, that makes a fine metaphor.

    Curt, (1) life’s horrors are overrated. Yes, ugly things happen from time to time to all of us, but most of us don’t experience that many of them that often, and there’s at least as much on the joyful side of the balance. I’ve been through some very unpleasant things in my life, but all things considered, I like being alive, and if I knew my next life was going to have just as many unpleasant things in it as this one has had, I’d eagerly sign up for it.

    (2) Western occultism has been shaped by fifteen centuries of often savage persecution. One of the consequences of that is that occult methods have been designed so you don’t need to be around a teacher all the time; you can learn them from books, from correspondence courses, or from very brief lessons in person, and do the vast majority of the work in privacy. Other spiritual traditions haven’t had that history and so haven’t been developed with that in mind.

    (3) Yes, the Western traditions tend to be either more cerebral or more emotional, and less body-centered — but there are exceptions.

    Barefootwisdom, you’re welcome and thank you! Of the poems I wrote for those novels, that’s one of my two favorites, and I’d be happy to post it here:

    Looking Across the East River
    by Justin Geoffrey

    From Brooklyn Heights I look across the river
    To gray Manhattan, where the towers rise.
    Despite our boasts, they cannot scrape the skies;
    They rise and fall, the skies rise up forever.
    Brownstone and concrete, brick and iron beams
    Weigh down the land and bridge the surging deep,
    But only for a while. Time turns in sleep
    And shrugs aside the rubble of our dreams.
    And you, the children of those distant years
    Whose feet will someday dance upon the green
    Where once stood our proud towers, shed no tears
    For us, and for the things that might have been.
    The things that matter stay when all else passes:
    Night on the river, wind amidst the grasses.

  207. Serious question: why would anyone think it’s a good idea to try to change the past?

  208. Booklover, I leave my apartment even under normal circumstances maybe twice a week. Somehow my life stays very busy! As for clocks, remember that the mechanical clock was invented in Europe in the late Dark Ages — the first known example was built by the monk Gilbert of Aurillac, later Pope Sylvester II, around the year 996. We’d have to slid a very, very long way before that kind of device was out of reach.

    Walt, delighted to hear it. That used to be recommended by physical culture advocates, and the “cold water cure,” as it was called, was a common habit. I don’t do the cold-shower thing, but many years ago I picked up the habit of washing every morning, head to toe, with a washcloth rinsed in the coldest water I can get, and then toweling off briskly. That’s also a good way to wake up and be energized.

    Kevin, if you do find anything, by all means let me know.

    Teresa, many thanks!

    Bridge, how fun. : – |

    Peter, where’s the conflict? The universe can be full of meaning without being solicitous of the individual beings who play a part in that meaning. The words you type on your computer have meaning; do you worry about whether the keys on the keyboard are happy?

    Churrundo, you should certainly figure it out on your own — though once we’re done with the Cos.Doc., I plan on proceeding to the Mystical Q. As for a virtual lodge, there are groups already doing it, though I don’t happen to know what results they’re getting.

    Wesley, the question is purely whether it’ll be to the advantage of future ecotechnic societies to maintain toys like those. I suspect not, in most cases, but we’ll see.

    Isabel, I knew people in western Maryland who used pellet stoves for heat, with good results, but I don’t know the ins and outs of sustainability. As for what to buy vs. what to grow, you can always plant the things your local farmer’s market doesn’t tend to carry…

    Coboarts, oh, I have plenty of students, I just don’t have personal students. I suppose that makes me an impersonal teacher. 😉

    Roby, that’s a good question to which I don’t have a firm answer. Levi’s Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic doesn’t give a design for the cup, though he recommends the reader to consult old editions of the Enchiridion of Leo II for the proper designs for the magical implements. The copies of the Enchiridion I’ve been able to find online, though, don’t include those. I’m not sure what to suggest.

    J.L.Mc12, nobody has yet been able to settle on a definition of what intelligence is, which explains why nobody’s been able to figure out how to produce it. That applies to animals just as well as machines…

    Sara, thanks for this.

    Johnny, my wife and I were gearing up for that — and there are some very good places in town to do it — when for some reason or other, staying at home became the better part of valor. Once that changes, a-hunting we will go! Thank you for the comments about metal music — I did some research after Molly Wolejko showed up in Brecken’s composition class, but it’s still not something I know a lot about. Molly, btw, will be showing up again briefly in the last of my tentacle novels, which is about half done…

    Chris, I’ve heard it politely translated “read the fabulous manual.” As for the ritual, what’s done is done; just keep going with the cycle of rituals. These things happen, and the gods, being eternal, don’t worry too much about it.

    Someone, thank you! I well remember the day when I got an excited email from a guy who’d picked up the first eight chapters of my Thibault translation, which I made available as a spiral bound photocopy while I was working on the rest. He spent some time learning Thibault’s system, and then went to an SCA rapier tourney and proceeded to lay waste to some of the top fencers in the kingdom. None of them had any idea what to do against Thibault’s methods — time and again, they’d try to knock the rapier out of the way and lunge, and the Thibault guy would simply pop back into the posture of the straight line and let them impale themselves face first on his point.

    I’m really glad to hear people are still using the translation. I put ten years of hard work into it, and then went through a lot of nonsense with the first publisher.

    Kevin, a lot of people recall things they did in their past that they desperately wish they could undo, or events they wish had turned out a different way. It’s not surprising that some wish they could change those.

  209. 1) For some reason, I’ve been giving some thought to the medical industry, and have decided to finally do something I’ve thought of for a while; I’m going to get a DNR drawn up. I’m in my mid 20s, so I don’t think I’ll need it any time soon, but I think it’s better safe than sorry. Once things settle down a bit, I’ll have it drawn up, but for now, it’s hard to get for reasons which can not be discussed.

    2) The more I learn of daily life in the 20th century, the less worried I am about the future. I got the idea that the past was far more deprived than it actually was, and as I correct that notion, I see a lot of my fears were overblown. Also, the more I adjust my life, the less I want the dubious comforts of modern society anyway.

    3) It’s also important to note that just because the world is in decline doesn’t mean our lives need to be. In May I’ll be starting training to become an electrician; it’s a job which is in demand, doing something I enjoy, and it’ll help me get out of a rut I’ve been in for a few years now.

    I only discovered I enjoy working with electronics due to getting into amateur radio, and the only reason I started is your writings inspired me to work to save something I value, long distance communication. So I’d like to thank you for making my life significantly better than it would be otherwise.

  210. I would like to hear more about using the past to change the present. What are the benefits and drawbacks? I’m guessing you meant some magical method rather than “Well, last time I tried to pet the fuzzy bee neither of us fared well so I guess I won’t do that with this bee.”

  211. It just seems like changing the past is an incredibly dangerous thing to try. Maybe I’m an unusually cautious person, but the risks just seem like they’d outweigh any benefits….

  212. JMG – email sent, so let me know if you don’t get it.

    And to answer the earlier question…So far my garden has offered up 10lbs of broccoli (the multi-headed type that has tender leaves too) that went into the freezer, several meals worth of mustard greens, a lot of chard, a couple of heads of lettuce – and that’s just the volunteer garden. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a chaos gardener, so the “non-volunteer” end of things is less productive, but onions and garlic are coming along, and the fava beans are coming in. Today I prepped a few more beds and will figure out what’s going in them tonight. This winter I also planted fruit trees. I joked with a friend that if there’s a depression as a result of Reaction to the Unmentionable, we’ll still starve because this year the trees are too small to fruit! Ah well, we’ll get an A for effort.

    Oh, and if you like greens and you find zucchini easy to grow (or any squash) – you can eat the young tips of the plants (little leaves, little squash blossoms, dinky squashes). It keeps the zucchini from taking over your neighborhood and provides a nice green veggie that’s simply delicious – tender & succulent. It’s my favorite and that was how I managed to not get swamped under all of last year’s volunteer squashes.

    Does anyone have experience with soil blocks? I want to make my own mix and I’ve seen some recipes online, but I wonder if anyone I “know” has direct experience with them. I may have better luck with plant starts (more than direct seeding) but there’s no variety in the commercially available starts and I’d like to get good at doing it myself. I have a lamp and trays but I’m dithering on the soil mix.

  213. @Candace

    Brilliant find Candace it has the triangle as clear as day – hope JMG sees it as well. I was always under the impression that this was an old-time Rose symbolic tradition. JMG – I will turn my gaze to other compilations of the Grimoire of Leo to see if I can find its use there. I did not know it was that old Candace. Punic very good.

    Many thanks to both of you.

  214. Two comments today–first on homeschooling. I had read Holt and several others on the topic and considered it for my kids. However, I was a single mom–I didn’t have a profession I could practice from home with kids learning in the background. I saw Holt speak once and asked him about the problem during the question period. He had no answer. A second reason for me not to homeschool was that I concluded that my kids needed adult input other than mine. We did visit one set of grandparents regularly, and they saw their dad several times a year, but as for regular exposure to ‘different adults think different ways’ it just seemed inadequate. I think that is an important thing for children to know.

    On technology, etc. One problem I see is that we have lost the ability to distinguish between inconvenience and unhappiness. For instance there is currently concern on social justice sites about the problems that female prison inmates are being outrageously overcharged for menstrual supplies in the prison store, which is their only option. My immediate response was “why not issue each woman prisoner a set of cloth pads and the garments to secure them?” I am positive this would be regarded as a horribly demeaning solution; yet it was good enough for our great grandmothers. Obviously the modern products are comfortable, convenient, etc. But would switching to cloth cause great unhappiness? or actual suffering or health risks?–of course not. In fact, some ‘greens” already are buying and using commercially available pads, just as some have switched to cloth diapers for babies.


  215. @ Russel Cook – Years ago, I worked for an old Norwegian fellow, helping to make wooden shoes in his shop. To glue rubber soles to the wooden part, we used Barge Cement. Similar to rubber cement (smell, working ability) but a lot tougher. Occasionally we’d get in a pair for repair, and had to grind off the remaining rubber. Lew

  216. Cristophe,
    “Guns, Germs, and Steel” is an absolute must-read IMO, especially for anyone raised in the West.

    I’ve nearly finished Dion Fortune’s “The Sea Priestess,” (excellent), and Butler’s “How to Read the Aura…,” (also excellent), and also just really grasping how much time and effort is involved in working through “Paths of Wisdom”!

    Fortunately, according to my divination, I’m only on my 5th human incarnation, so I have some time to spare…


  217. Here’s a question for you. If an angel and a demon floated in front of you side by side, would you be able to tell the difference? How?

  218. Et all: (Cooks, at least) – There was some talk last week of cooking in trying times. There’s a book I have that’s very useful. “Depression Era Recipes” by Patricia R. Wagner. Available in paperback for $7.95.

    If you are adverse to using The River, for your book buying, I can recommend . I am in no way affiliated with them, except as a long time customer. As of last night, the book was still in stock.

    Their only drawback is, if you order from them, you’ll get at least two catalogues by mail, each month. But, in these trying times, I’m sure we can figure out a use for light, quality paper, can’t we :-). They carry a lot of reprints and publisher’s overstock. I even saw a book by our resident Druid, there, once. Didn’t last long.

    Also, if you’re in a used bookstore, look for cookbooks from the WWI era, and 1930’s. They might be falling apart (and cheap) but the information is still good. Usually have sections on economy cooking. It was quit the thing before WWII to give new brides a cookbook, as a wedding gift. (Still is, but now a lot of the recipes start off with processed food). They often stress cooking economically, when starting a new household. Lew

  219. >Serious question: why would anyone think it’s a good idea to try to change the past?

    What if the past isn’t unique, any more than the future is? You’re in a maze of twisty little timelines, all alike.

  220. The Mystical Qabalah is next?? Woo-hoo! I just bought it, and am excited about getting into it, but reading some of her other books first. How long do we have until you wrap up Cos Doc? (I admit, that one was just too much for me when you started it.) Would you recommend reading “The Training and Work of an Initiate” and/or “Esoteric Orders and Their Work” beforehand? Concurrently?

  221. @Will Oberton,
    I see you’ve discovered part of the secret to the power of misogi, the cold water austerities undertaken by Shugendo and Shinto practitioners in Japan. If you get out in nature and add ritual to it as they do, you connect with Nature and the spirits that dwell within and it enhances your mental well being like nothing else I know. It can be the sea, a lake or a river. I use a small waterfall. I do that about once a month and other cold water bathing about once a week. Those ought to be once a week and daily, respectively.

  222. @Christophe,
    Thank you for that fascinating description of muscle testing! I still don’t know enough to try it myself, and would like to know more if you have any references. I was very impressed with the results in a clinical setting about 15 years ago, and the electrical field (?) testing and healing by Buryat doctors in Ulan-Ude I experienced in 1994 impressed me so much I wished I could live there and learn from them, but my husband hates the cold.

  223. @Isabell Cooper,
    It is also possible to make a rocket stove or have someone good at working with metals make one for you. (Long ago I posted directions for that on the late Mike Ruppert’s Collapse Net blog, but I don’t know if that still exists. The Net should have information, though.) You feed sticks and wood scraps into them that are easy to gather, and they burn very efficiently. It could be life-saving in a winter emergency.

  224. @Cary,
    I’ve had sage planted by rosemary, that is doing very well after about 9 months, but I’ve always had trouble getting sage to stay healthy. They hate the cold here and they hate pots.

  225. @Dennis Row,
    5G will not cook anything. You may be hearing disinformation put out by interested parties with the goal of providing a straw man to discredit genuine concerns, which include effects on the nervous and immune systems, and evidence that this form of non-ionizing radiation can promote viral and bacterial replication (see published August 2019). The telecom companies are facing criticism for conducting a single-blind public health experiment. Equipment to measure the radiation is unavailable to the public, except perhaps at unaffordable prices. I’ll let you and anyone else interested connect the dots.

  226. JMG,

    I enjoyed your reference to the Island of Misfit Toys in one of your replies. That’s what I named the group I’m in at the job some 25 years ago. People have come and gone, but most of the employees in this group really wouldn’t fit anywhere else. Most seem to do well on the Island.

    Your frequent suggestions to questions “That’s a good theme for meditation!”, although never said to me, have been quite inspirational and an impetus to think for myself. Thanks for the repeated suggestion to many of your readers, as well as the attitude that it sends that you hope your readers can think for themselves. It’s been beneficial to me, for sure.

    One question, a bit different than the usual. I’ve been musing about the past a bit more than normal as things have been somewhat slow recently. As Sara and I grew up in the same town, I seem to recall that she may have been first violin in the Youth Orchestra circa 1979? I went to several of their concerts in that era and found them to be enjoyable. IIRC, the string section was particularly good then. Is my memory correct, or nearly so?


  227. On my walks and runs this last week or two, I’ve noticed a lot more people out and about walking, running and cycling – and the local park’s been busier. Unfortunately they’re all keeping their distance, so the usual social benefit of not sitting in your car or looking at your phone isn’t there. Still, overall they are improving their physical health.

    About a million people have lost their jobs (including me – I had to shut my business), and another million will follow shortly. Another few million are now working from home. So some people have all day free, and others are now more productive without the distraction of the open plan office, and they don’t have the commute. This gives people more spare time. Some jobs are so destructive to the person’s mental health they are better-off lost, so that some people’s mental health will improve unemployed, but most will I think be worse off. But those who are now more productive and not commuting will see an improvement in their mental health.

    The panic-buying has given people full pantries and fridges, and restaurants and food courts have closed, so that people will be eating more meals cooked from fresh(ish) ingredients at home, improving their physical health.

    The sight of empty shelves has led many people to start trying to grow some of their own food. Obviously due to space and skill limitations this will just be a token amount, nonetheless being a bit more aware by experience what’s involved in natural processes of growth and decay, and the trouble taken to produce food, may improve people’s sense of connection to natural processes and appreciation of what they’re eating.

    As they say in Yorkshire, “it’s an ill wind that blows no good.”

  228. @ Patricia Ormsby– That means a lot to me– the thought that a mountain in Japan knows my name is so cool. Thank you very much! For what it’s worth, the night I developed the symptoms I reported, my partner had spent about 30 minutes doing visceral lymphatic work on me. At one point she found and worked through a fairly big knot or blockage. I monitored myself for a few days and I suspect that I may simply have been purging whatever she released. The symptoms mostly dissipated within two days, except that I seem to be unable to use incense indoors right now without experiencing coughing and shortness of breath. I love incense, so this isn’t an ideal situation– But it’s much better than You Know What.

  229. @JMG

    To be fair, while the technologies I mentioned – internet, nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and commercial airliners – exist in India, they did not originate there; they were invented in much more energy-rich societies, and India still relies on imports from places like the US to keep those technologies running.

    It may well be that in a world with only energy-poor societies, nobody develops those technologies at all. Or maybe they’ll still exist, but the average person will interact with them a lot less often; I recall that one of your previous posts touching on the end of the internet was met with a lot of arguments to the effect that the majority of its economically useful functions could be performed by a stripped-down internet which is mostly text-based, and which consumes a small fraction of the energy of the version we have right now. Like you said, we’ll see.

    @Peter Van Erp, JMG, others

    I am of the opinion that it is extremely unlikely for the US to abruptly dissolve the way the USSR did. One big difference is that the Republics that made up the USSR had a fairly recent (within the last century) experience at being independent. Another is that the people of the USSR were a lot less given over to absolute obedience to the central government.

    They had a pair of revolutions in 1917, then a bloody civil war in which not every province ended up submitting to the new government in Moscow (i.e. how Finland ended up as a seperate country). Then there was the coup against Krushchev in 1964, and the breakup of the Union in 1991. Obviously, none of these actions were launched on behalf of a Western-style concept of human rights, but the point is that the people there were willing to defy the authorities when they felt their country was going in the wrong direction.

    As for the US, we had some local resistance to unpopular laws back in the Antebellum period (Whiskey Rebellion, Sedition Acts, Tarrif of Abominations) which often led to compromise. Then defiance of the fugitive slave laws and the Dred Scott Decision provoked the South to secede entirely which exploded into a civil war.

    Since then? Crickets. State and local governments have offered no effective resistance to centralized power for over 150 years.

    Which is not to say that our form of government has been fixed and immutable – on the contrary, America is highly susceptible to revolution within the form. That is how, for instance, the Warren Court was able to pull off a slow motion bloodless coup in the 1959s and ’60s, and set itself up as the ultimate policy-maker for all matters in which, by its own judgment, the rights of some minority were at stake.

    The premise was straightforward enough: Democracy, to Americans, implied the rule of law, and the rule of law implied that the courts must always be obeyed. It was easy for the original meaning of democracy – a government where legislation is made by elected representative bodies – to fall by the wayside.

    Now, the Supreme Court probably won’t hold onto its present degree of power through the Long Descent; its slow and deliberative temperment is ill-suited for crisis management, and the time will come when Americans understand the rule of law in a different manner than they do right now. But when the revolution comes, it will be another revolution within the form, and the people will just end up groveling before some other manifestation of centralized power. Nor will this process lack historical counterparts – China, for instance, also has a strong authoritarian tendency and has ended every one of its crises over the last two millennia by reuniting most (but sometimes not all) of its territory under a reconstituted central government.

    This is the reason why I believe that of the three scenarios for the future of the US that our host has dealt with in his novels – Retrotopia, Twilight’s Last Gleaming, and Star’s Reach – I find Star’s Reach to be the most believable. The gradual transformation of the American heartland into a neo-medeival monarchy with a hereditary Presden surrounded by Jennels and Cunnels, while outer regions are lost to neighboring countries, war-bands, or the sea, is just the sort of revolution within the form which I think America is capable of.

  230. Kevin, delighted to hear this on all counts. With regard to history, exactly — one of the core dishonesties underlying the myth of progress is the habit of making the past look much scarier than it was. With regard to your future as an electrician, that’s excellent — this country needs a lot more skilled tradespeople (and a lot fewer — well, let’s not get into that now, shall we?)

    Your Kittenship, you redefine the effects of the past by revisiting your memories, reflecting on them, and bringing out sides of your past experiences you may have neglected. This is especially useful in dealing with memories that have strong negative emotions associated with them; if you can deal with the emotions so that they no longer affect you today, you’ve changed the way your past shapes your present.

    Kevin, oh, it has to be done carefully. That’s why I talk about the method I’ve just described to Lady Cutekitten and not some of the other methods…

    Temporaryreality, got it!

    Roby (and Candace), good heavens. Fascinating! Many thanks for this.

    Owen, have you ever read Marlowe’s play Doctor Faustus? When Faustus summons Mephistopheles, Faustus asks the demon how it is that he can leave Hell to respond to the incantation, and Mephistopheles replies, “Why, this is Hell, nor am I ever out of it.” The lesson to that story — one Marlowe knew well, as he ran with some of the leading Elizabethan occultists — is that summoning demons is the easiest thing in the world; all you have to do is debase yourself to their level, and there they are. Encountering angels is hard work, because you have to rise to their level — and there they are. Thus you don’t find them in the same place at the same time, and if you want to know which you’ve encountered, all you have to do is check your own state of consciousness…

    As for timelines, why, in that case, you just choose the one that gives you the present you prefer.

    Tripp, yes, the Mystical Q is next. We’ve got about 11 more months to finish up the Cos. Doc. You can certainly benefit from reading other books by Fortune, and those two are a lot more user-friendly than the Cos. Doc.!

    Coop Janitor, I’d have to get him to dictate the rest of the poems to me, and that will involve a lot of sweat on my part. Still, I’ll consider that. I have to finish getting Brecken Kendall to finish writing the Weird of Hali Cookbook first! 😉

    DJSpo, good heavens. You have a good memory. Yes, Sara played the violin in the Spokane Junior Symphony, one of the second violins in the 1975-1976 season and one of the first violins in the 1976-1977 and 1977-1978 seasons.

    Wesley, and of course societies in the future will almost by definition not have the same values and worldviews as ours, and so many of the things we invest our time and resources may not make much sense to them. (How much of your wealth is being spent preparing to be mummified? From an ancient Egyptian standpoint, neglecting that obviously important matter is just plain crazy…)

  231. I’d like to see Supreme Court members elected every 20-30 years. I fear shorter terms would make the Court even more politicized than it already is. Also I think members should be examined annually by a random-drawn, odd-numbered team of geriatric specialists and removed when they become too senile, frail, or sick to function. I’ve never had cancer but I’ve heard what it’s like from many who have. Neither I nor Ruth Ginsburg can handle tortuously complicated legal issues while being so sick.

    JMG, thanks for the instructions!

  232. Oddball question (from an oddball 😄): When you see something marketed as a “must-have,” do you get irritated enough to think “Oh, no, I mustn’t!” and not buy it, even if it’s a good product? Men may not have experienced that , but we women are all too familiar with “must-have” huckstering. It seems counterproductive to me but maybe I’m in the minority, as companies keep using it.

    I’d like to see it in men’s magazines. “Must-have socket wrenches for Spring!” 😄

  233. Regarding Thibault’s Academy of the Sword, would the methods apply to the fighting staff? If not, do you know of an equivalent manual?

  234. @ J A D – Shift the focus of your search, a bit. Look into the folk magic traditions of the ethnic groups, in the Great Lakes Region. The Finns, Swedes, Norwegians, Sami, etc. etc.. My Finn Norwegian grandfather used to drop melted lead into water, on New Years Eve, to get impressions of what might happen in the coming year. While living in Minnesota. Lew

  235. So… I’ve tried to write an adapted SOP several times over the course of the last week. Had good success with that in the past. But here, divination always comes out negative… any other places I can look for “placebo” (=magical) recipes?

  236. Sue Doe-Nimh, I tried St Johns wort and it was really strange. I could still talk and move around, but I felt almost totally detached from my body and the world. I was floating in a warm tropical sea a long way from shore. That wasn’t the effect I was after so I never did it again.

    Ozquoll, one thing I heard was good for socialising was blue-green algae. I didn’t get anything out of it but I only had cheap pills from Amazon. It supposedly needs to be as fresh as possible to have that effect. I also found I don’t like anything with caffiene in it – it makes my brain feel fizzy. One thing I loved though was Ambrotose AO. That made thoughts flow so much better, while still feeling relaxed and natural. But then they changed it and it stopped feeling good. I miss the mind I had when I was on the good stuff. But in a suprising turn of events, the anti-baldness treatment minoxidil has a considerable mood-elevating effect, before you even know if it’s going to work on your hair. 🙂

  237. Re: rocket stoves, suggested by Patricia O. to Isabel

    There are 2 main varieties of rocket stove: one that fires hot and fast, decoupled from any real mass, that puts out a lot of radiant heat in a hurry on very little fuel. And the “rocket-mass” stove, that is usually buried in a fairly hefty thermal mass – often cob or stone – that burns hot and fast, but invests most of its heat in warming up the coupled mass, to be re-radiated to the space after the live fire is out.

    The first is better for sporadic-use structures like workshops, where one would want heat in a hurry, but have no need for investing that heat in a thermal mass “battery” for later use; or for tasks like cooking and smithing. A little ingenuity can produce some high temps on next to no wood.

    The latter is generally used in “heavy” structures, like cob cottages, chinked cordwood and log cabins, and the like. Good insulation value is the key here, as the stored heat that returns slowly to the room is more subtle – good for napping on top of, or coupled with passive solar design.

    I built one of the latter in our wall tent the 2nd winter we lived in it. Terrible idea. Not the right combination of factors at all. It was a miserable winter, and we were thrilled when warmer weather arrived. But I was impressed nonetheless by its fuel-efficiency. In a wall tent in the north Georgia mountains, we burned almost 5 cords (!) of firewood in the boxstove we used the 1st winter, and somewhere around one cord in the rocket-mass stove the 2nd. And it was a colder winter…

    Coupled with a coppiced wood lot, it would be difficult to come up with a more space- and fuel-efficient arrangement.

    As far as pellet-stoves go, the main drawback I see is the reliance on electricity and an industrial product for fuel. Defeats the entire purpose to me…

    But that’s just my .02

  238. Thanks JMG,

    I’ll look forward to it! I have the follow up novel you released this year but I haven’t started it yet.

    If you are interested in hearing more, you could do worse than that Archspire record I linked above (that youtube “video” has the whole album). They have strong melodic lines running through all of their songs, and more variety than most groups. In many ways, there’s nothing in the “heavy” parts that isn’t comparable to some of the huge sections in say Buxtehude or Bach organ works, just the inclusion of drums and vocals, both in their case with perhaps the kind of rhythmic complexity you sometimes find in harpsichord music. Obviously, it’s an acquired taste but I think you can hear traces of a tradition that goes way back. Plus, they are Canadian! And their album has a Heraclitus echoing title: “Relentless Mutation”.


  239. JMG (or anyone else),

    Have you ever reverse-engineered a geomantic house chart to describe a situation, or day, after the fact? A couple months ago I sat down for evening reflection only to realize that I had drawn the daily chart in my journal, but got side-tracked and never cast it. Well, I thought, this is a prime opportunity to test my understanding of the mechanics of a house chart!

    So I did it, starting with the most important happenings of the day, and slowly pieced it together, one line at a time. Took about half an hour. Did a decent job of it too!

    But it was tricky, particularly getting the summed-up figures in houses 9-12 to correlate to actual parts of my day. Made me wonder how the geomantic spirits can come up with their figures so quickly. Then it dawned on me that they are eternal beings, i.e. outside of time. They have all the “time” they need to work it out just the way they want it. And after they decide what they want to say they simply intersect the timeline at the point where I’m asking for guidance. Not that they aren’t waaay better at this than I am to start with…

    Just curious.

  240. @JMG

    Thank you for your answers, Mr. Greer.

    I must clarify a point: with the horrors of life I do not mean average vexations of a life in peace and security, but real life atrocities from past and present – in pretty much every war people get burned alive for example.
    There are too many references to atrocities to count in history-

    With these things in mind that happen and have happened to OTHER people, how is it possible to approve of life and this world?

    regards, Curt

  241. @Rita

    “But would switching to cloth cause great unhappiness?”

    I think so, at least for some women. Switching to tampons after several years of pads was a life-changing event for me, one that meant that I no longer felt that six days out of every 26-27 were wasted. It was a much bigger (and entirely positive) change for me than getting the Internet, for instance. As always, YMMV. (To be fair, one to two days are still wasted, due to the pain. I do hope no-one will suggest doing away with ibuprofen next, although women obviously managed without it for millennia. But anyway, one or two days of marked discomfort is better than six, isn’t it?)

    But also, why *not* simply issue sufficient, standard menstrual supplies to female prisoners?? Completely unnecessary cruelty if you ask me.

  242. Hi Windyarning,

    Greetings! Six seasons of about more or less two month each are what are experienced here. The four seasons does not fit well, and whilst the land is old, but the energy is strong, vital and robust as befits the country. The solstices and the equinoxes are the same regardless.



  243. JMG: “Irena, I don’t really have any examples to offer, because I keep track of astrology on an ongoing basis and so that’s always a background for my predictive thinking. Whatever the situation is, there are various historical examples that can be used to make sense of it, and the astrological conditions are part of the framing I use to choose which example I take as a primary guide to the future.”

    Thank you for your reply! So, would it be fair to say that astrology is more of an art than a science?

    I’m a (lower case s) skeptic, you see. I simply don’t believe in astrology. But I can believe that it offers an inspiration to some people, or puts them in the right contemplative mood. Could I be wrong? Sure. But that’s what it sounds like to me. So, I do sometimes read your astrological predictions, not because they’re astrological, but because they’re yours, and you have a decent (if imperfect, like the rest of us) track record. Better than the MSM in any case, and let’s not even talk about the economists…

  244. @Teresa So good to hear from you and I hope you are managing well thru this!

    Your dad’s repeating of his mother’s pride in having children live to adulthood really hits home. Women worked hard day in and day out to keep children clean, fed, and healthy. We are going to have to start doing that again and this whole notion of women are most valuable when they mimic the work men do in the corporate world – well that idea, as JMG says, is well past its pull date.

  245. @Beekeeper in Vermont Here we have a “secular homeschoolers” group who refuses to let anyone in who is a Christian or even looks conservative. They consider themselves progressive and think the others are condescending and judgmental. We do have many homeschool groups who are Christian who do exclude so I get that they are retaliating in a way, but as my grandmother said, “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

    What is amazing to me in the last three weeks is how fast the conversation went from “we have to leave schools open because families need this” to “every family must stay at home.” All of the sudden the state is dependent on the family structure to get us through this crisis after telling us constantly that families can’t live without institutional help from dawn to dusk.

    They did zero to prepare people for the change. On a Wednesday they were saying “every school will stay open and not close” and 24 hours later the announcement that every school closes immediately. Yesterday they said in two weeks they are moving to online “enrichment” and two weeks after that “instruction”. After claiming for decades that schools are absolutely essential for children, everything got thrown on the scrap heap real quick!

    I could see families moving to homeschooling now just for some consistency in their lives. We can’t rely on government to provide the structure anymore.

  246. @ Sue Doe-Nimh & future mentats,

    On the advice of a certain writer 😉 “Now of course the training programs needed to get mentats to this level of function haven’t been invented yet.”

    Let’s invent one!

    from the same article: “If you know how to follow an argument from its premises to its conclusion, recognize a dozen or so of the most common logical fallacies, and check the credentials of a purported fact, you’ve just left most Americans—including the leaders of our country and the movers and shakers of our public opinon—way back behind you in the dust. To that basic grounding in how to think, add a good general knowledge of history and culture and a few branches of useful knowledge in which you’ve put some systematic study, and you’re so far ahead of the pack that you might as well hang out your shingle as a mentat right away.”

    Here are a few resources I found:
    Reddit also has a mentat handbook.

    Art of memory: I’ve been looking at memory grandmasters and have so far worked with
    Unlimited Memory By Kevin Horsley
    How to Develop a Brilliant Memory week by week: 50 proven ways to enhance your memory skills Dominic O’Brien.
    I’m sure Giordano Bruno deserves a mention here but I haven’t personally worked with the methods.

    Secrets of Mental Math by Arthur Benjamin
    Human calculator Scott Flansburg has some interesting ideas too
    Japanese soroban (A type of abacus) and Flash Anzan
    The book Learn to do math with soroban a Japanese abacus.

    For history I like Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History and of course many many others, right now I’ve been studying Arabic history because of how much of our knowledge is based on their work And their work with the classics during our medieval period. If anyone is interested in that I specifically recommend:
    Lost to the west: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire that Rescued Western Civilization by Lars Brownworth
    The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization by Jonathan Lyons.

    We still need logic and I like the “way of dissensus” for the “few branches of useful knowledge in which you’ve put some systematic study.” The list of cool stuff is nearly endless. What else should we add?

    I’m excited by the prospect of a low tech mentat/cultural conserver/green wizard type of thing. I’m still trying to up my game and hope to preserve these for the future ecotechnic society.

  247. @ isabelcooper

    Re flailing about

    Oddly, it is comforting to be reminded (as I often need to be) that I’m not the only one in that situation. Without context, I end up measuring my progress (such as it is) against where I think I ought to be, which is, of course, far, far beyond where I am. “Never good enough” is yet another of those long-held stories likely well-rooted in childhood…

  248. Hi Churrundo,

    I think you’ve got the wrong web link in your comment. I tried to search for the TED talk you mentioned but the one I fine seems to only have spanish subtitles for me – could you link again?


  249. Dear Archdruid,

    Concerning the secret of the Bards in Barddas, is it known whether that was ever, or is still, transmitted in any of the Gorseddau? I recall that once you mentioned wanting to join the Cornish Gorsedd some day, is that still an ambition of yours?

    Kind regards,

  250. Hello everyone!

    Last week, I have started reading Mystical Qabalah too. I have never been into Judeo-Christian mysticism, but I was curious about the Hermetic version of Qabalah. I really liked the teaching and writing style of Dion Fortune, by the way. The version of Qabalah she teaches seems applicable to not only Abrahamic mysticism, but also Polytheistic occultism (or should I say, Henotheistic) as well.

  251. @Christophe – thank you VERY much for the information.

    As an acupuncurist I had heard of the 0-ring technique (ie whether you can or cannot break the circle of little finger and thumb) which has been developed to a high degree by certain Japanese acupuncturists, although I had not found that I could get good results from it.

    Professionally and clinically, I completely concur with the following:
    “Our bodies know so much that never comes into our conscious awareness, and, if we can figure out how to respect them enough to communicate with them as equals, they are happy to share that information. The body truly is a temple, complete with oracle. Our bodies’ goals like health and survival may be very different from our personalities’ goals like wealth and power, and they will certainly not share their truth with us if we try to control and manipulate them.”

    I find that I am continually in awe of the powers and wisdom of people’s bodies, and have come to realise that there is zero chance that *I* could ever [even with hundreds of years of study] know more about any person’s body than *it* does about what it needs.

    In general I liken my own clinical work to pushing a car. For some reason it is stuck, using your skills and experience, you try to find the best leverage point from which to unstick it and give it a push – and see what happens. If necessary you give further pushes, each one gaining momentum and benefiting from the previous pushes** until one day you give the one push that sends it away from you at full speed, back into movement. Of course it knows exactly how to run itself, as it always did before getting stuck.

    Not a very sophisticated view of my own role, but the real sophistication is always within the patient! 🙂

    So I am very interested, but completely untutored, in this idea of using muscle testing to communicate with a body, whether it is a patient’s body (which I will seek further learning sources to improve upon) or my own body.

    In relation to the second, though, I wonder would it be a big ask for you to briefly illustrate with a step by step example of you DOING this?

    Eg. Question, technique, reaction, answer. The HOW of it.

    Also, if the answer sometimes might be “I don’t want to tell you” how do you distinguish that from a “yes” or a “no”?

    ** for example, if a person gains a day or two of benefit from the first treatment, the second is likely to give benefit for 2 to 4 days, and so on. Treatments can often be spaced further and further apart until the person says [in effect]: “car’s humming, bye!” Sometimes a single treatment is already enough, more commonly, 2 to 6 treatments are enough, a few people start regularly returning on a three or six monthly schedule for one more “push”. They decide.

  252. @Beekeeper in Vermont I’m still giggling to myself over your “pin drop” experience. Can I ask you about what impression is of parents relationship to children today? I realize this varies by economic class. My experience of my fellow parents is that they manage their children in terms of making sure they are in the right schools, activities, and social groups, but otherwise just ignore them. Neither parents or other adults take any responsibility for how children turn out. They blame “society” on the right political side and “poverty” on the left political side.

    When that Covington Catholic drama unfolded, I immediately said “Where are the parents chaperones?” I didn’t see anyone making the adults who were supposed to be supervising the teenagers responsible for what happened. No one interviewed any adult that I could see and none of them spoke out in the children’s defense – not a teacher, principal, or parent. That was the most bizarre thing of the whole situation to me.

    Do you see this lack of presence of parents too? I mean the parents are everywhere in the their children’s lives, driving them around and attending sports events all weekend, but they aren’t really guiding children and setting their own standards of behavior. Parents just seem impotent.

  253. Dear JMG,

    I’m interested in the triangle, crescent, and circle mentioned by Roby and unearthed in photo by Candace. I have seen that symbol, in the form of a crescent moon with a star inside the crescent, in multiple Bardic grade pathworkings now and always felt I wasn’t quite able to unpack it. Now I realize it’s a well-established occult symbol! (The only reference I could think of was in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner).

    Can you point me to what it’s called and where I might learn more about it?


  254. In this compelled quiet time, I’m realizing exactly how much letting go of old thought-habits I need to do.

  255. Breaking media fast for a quick request:

    I recall a mention or two here, or perhaps on a MM post, of someone making and selling a salve or balm containing comfrey, that was reported to be excellent for diaper rash. Can someone give me a link or a contact for that?

    May all your gardens prosper!

  256. Re: changing the part – it’s been a fairly common theme in s/f lately, and on the lists having a number of alternate history buffs. The entire purpose of them seem to be “jump starting Progress by sending moderns back in time to start the Industrial Revolution ahead of time. Steve Stirling’s Island in the Sea of Time is one such; Eric Flint’s 1632 series is another, though in 1632, the jump-start was due to a malicious alien prankster just tweaking time for fun. Or art.

    OTH, Stirling gave us quite a good and happy ecotechnic society, or set of societies, in his Emberverse series. None of them Utopias, of course, and a few, quite nasty. (And you know he jumped the shark in Series 3 when his nasties started including villainous monsters from horror fiction. Not nasty societies founded on the belief in such, but the actual beings.)

  257. @NomadicBeer: I think there’s a fair chance that the Democrats won’t survive the next couple of election cycles too, but I’m curious what you’re referring to when you say that Gabbard and Sanders have sold out. Would you mind elaborating?

  258. @Peter, that’s impressive, and very pragmatic as well. The deep breathing seems to be an important part of adapting. My first few tries at New England winter tap water temperatures (still warmer than your well’s) had me gasping for breath for the first half minute or so. That effect diminished dramatically over the first few weeks.

    I have similar hopes for swimming and paddling in colder water this season. Swimming season is very short in New England waters if you insist on “comfortable” 70+F temperatures. Even over the late winter I found the near-frozen river looking strangely inviting at times. (I didn’t go in, out of safety concerns, but that I can work my way up to.) The mallards don’t seem to mind it.

    @Will Oberton, it’s true that cold water doesn’t cleanse as thoroughly. If I feel too grimy (i.e. from contact with grease or smoke, not just normal sweating) I can usually compensate with a second wash. (This wouldn’t work with a cold sit-in bath, as oils can float on the water and re-deposit — ever had to wash dishes in cold water in camp?) A brief warm wash works too.

    The idea of “slowly” turning down the warm water makes me cringe a bit, though. You know where that’s headed, why not just go directly there? Of course, to each his own, and more (calming) power to you!

    @JMG, anything called “the [something] cure” always sounds a little sinister to me. But I’m not surprised that cold bathing has a long history. “Polar plunge” traditions (on liminal New Year’s Day, often) might have deep roots as well, perhaps?

    @Patricia Ormsby (if I may), very interesting! That puts my comment above to Peter about the river in a different light. And it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve felt drawn toward nature-spiritual practices comparable to Shintoism since moving here.

  259. Re changing the effects of the past on the present.

    The following is hard to tell in more than sketchy detail, mostly because it involves other people and their stories are not mine to tell.

    However, in brief, there was the possibility that a harmful thing had hurt a person whose happiness I am greatly invested in, and that my part in that occurrence might have been my neglect of a level of protection and watchfulness they were entitled to have from me.

    While I turned this over and over in my mind, often in some distress, and in some apprehension, and wondered what to do about it, it came to me to (in the present) imagine myself doing (in the past) the thing I should have done, expressing the protective attitude that I should have expressed, in relation to these past events.

    I spent some months doing this from time to time, and at a certain point felt a “release”. Among other things, I no longer found myself dwelling with regret upon a certain sequence of past events, also, communications between myself and this person improved enormously, and objectively, they seemed to be more at peace within themselves.

    I’m not certain this is exactly what is meant by changing the effects of the past on the present (in fact, I have no idea if “anything” actually “happened” or “unhappened”) but this memory is exactly what that phrase evokes for me.

  260. A couple of weeks back, you opened your post by explaining why magic is so completely associated with medieval times. Your argument makes complete sense, but I’d like to support and amplify that observation: first that it isn’t just an American phenomenon and second, that there are other reinforcing elements as to why medieval Europe in particular is the standard setting.

    First, I observe that Tolkein was English and started writing his magical epics in a bunker on the Somme with shells flying and tanks crawling through the cratered mudscape, yet he set them in a pseudo-medieval world. You also mentioned that James Joyce was looking to purchase a medieval castle in Ireland as a centre for his magical workings with the Golden Dawn, presumably because he associated magic with a romantic sense of all things medieval. I think they were following the 19th Century romanticist traditions that set their images and stories of magic in a medieval setting, e.g. all the versions of The Lady of Shalott from that time. But why the 15th Century?

    My hypothesis is that, when William Caxton, in 1485, printed Sir Thomas Mallory’s “Mort D’Arthur” (who died in 1471), he fixed the setting for tales of magic in popular imagination and subsequent literature in that era. The Arthurian legends were very popular in the 13th to 15th Centuries, and depend on magic (both holy and mundane) for much of the story line: dragons fighting before Vortigern, Merlin ensuring Arthur’s magical birth, the sword in the stone, the magical grail of Parsifal. Mallory set his story in his time because that is typical of people, for example, the Morgan (or Majowski) Bible consists of miniature paintings of events from the Hebrew bible, set in the scenery and customs of thirteenth-century France and Renaissance paintings have Christ being crucified by men wearing 15the Century fashions and armour.

    When the rationalists and religionists got together and suppressed magic during the 17th Century, magic became inextricably a thing of the past, linked in particular with Arthurian legends, which remain forever fixed in the 15th Century.


    P.S. I do vividly recall enjoying a particular fantasy book, which I cannot now either name or find, that was set in a world of magical demons. As the plot unfolds, we figure out that this happens far in our future, in a post-apocalyptic world, trying to recover and use lost technology, e.g. a ‘mechanical elephant’ (a tank) found in a buried bunker of strange rock (concrete), &c.

  261. Dear JMG and Commentariat:

    1.) Much thanks to everyone who suggested doing online music lessons with my students. I started doing these with a few this week and it worked out well.

    2.) I usually burn various kinds of incense during the Sphere of Protection or often just to relax, but unfortunately my husband’s sensitivities are increasingly bothered by the smoke. What is the best all purpose low-smoke incense? I was looking at the Shoyeido website and I noticed they have four types of low-smoke incense: Madoka, Honoka, Kasumi, and Oboro — anyone using these? Which one would be the best for the SoP? Thanks in advance.

  262. 1) Well, the US will need to find other skilled tradespeople, as I’m in Canada, and part of my decision to become an electrician is it’s one of the few fields I expect to be in demand enough I can stay in the same city for the next few decades. Your sentiment works just as well for Canada though! We need a lot more skilled tradespeople. And yet, the college programs here are never full: I asked, since I missed the deadline to guarantee entrance and wanted to make sure I could get in even if it took a while; the person I talked to reassured me that the program is never full.

    What makes it even weirder is that there are plenty of government incentives to try to get people into these fields. It’s just very hard to get people to want to do them. I wonder if it’s class bigotries, or something else, but it’s truly weird to see.

    2) I wonder if the effect a few people noticed about how people seem to be getting less intelligent over time is accurate, and has to do with the very nature of society today. Human brains, like every other organ, need certain inputs to develop properly. With the way so many people spend their days watching TV and online, we very likely have deprived ourselves of essential inputs for proper brain development. Add in a few generations of epigenetic effects, and the impacts of having adults who aren’t fully functioning themselves, and it makes sense that the effects would compound. This may also help explain the rise of neurological disorders as well. Does anyone know of any research on the topic?

  263. Just a little anecdote about progress as an apparently divine power:

    “The first time a farmer planted a seed. It was the birth of Progress”

    And it was done by man. Kind of creation in reverse.

  264. Hello JMG (and other readers).
    Have you heard about the Georgia guidestones? If so, what do you think about them? They are a source of many conspiracies!

  265. Your Kittenship, it might also be effective simply to have a retirement age for Supreme Court justices; when they hit 70 or what have you, there’s a big public ceremony with a speech by the President, they shake the hand of their already-selected successor, and then go relax into a well-earned retirement.

    As for “must-have” products, why, yes, that’s my instinctive reaction as well.

    LunarApprentice, there’s nothing anywhere comparable to Thibault — his book is really one of a kind, the most elaborate treatise on swordsmanship ever written in any language. His methods could be adapted to the staff, or to any other hand-to-hand weapon, but the work hasn’t yet been done — as far as I know. (There may be western martial arts people at work on it at this moment.) Once you understand the geometrical basis for his system, you can adapt it to any weapon — you’d just have to devise a “mysterious circle” (his term) sized for the weapon, and then adapt the techniques as needed.

    Admin, have you done a divination to see if that’s a good idea?

    Johnny, thanks for this! I’ll check ’em out.

    Tripp, fascinating. No, I’ve never tried that. The closest I’ve come is noticing that a situation resembles one geomantic figure, and guiding my actions to correspond with another geomantic figure so the result of the combination was a third figure that was the condition I wanted.

    Curt, for every horrible event that happens, there’s a wonderful event that happens. You can fixate on one or the other side of the balance if you like — but why bother? The universe does not care whether you or I approve of it, you know.

    Irena, I think of astrology as a craft rather than an art — the difference being that crafts are very often useful. It’s certainly not a science in the modern sense of that word, though it might conceivably become one, if astrologers had the kind of funding that scientists get (or used to get) for pure research. On a philosophical level, I’m agnostic as to whether it works as a function of game theory — von Neumann pointed out, after all, that inserting a random factor is an essential element of a winning strategy, and all forms of divination do that — or for some other reason; in practice, I use it and it works.

    Drakonus, excellent! This is the sort of thing I’ve been hoping to see.

    Brigyn, I have no idea whether any of the gorseddau still know it — you’d have to be a member of one to find out. As for the Gorsedh Kernow, it’s something I’d like to do, but I’d have to spare the time to really master the Cornish language, and then find the money for a trip to Britain; realistically, it’s not a high enough priority that I’d be likely to make it happen.

    Minervaphilos, in Fortune’s time it was still quite common for occultists to be Christian and Pagan at the same time, and find no contradiction in that; Fortune was a good example; another was Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca, who was also a priest in a schismatic Celtic Christian church. So it’s not surprising that Fortune’s textbook works well from either angle!

    Kyle, I discuss it from one perspective in my book The Druid Magic Handbook, and you’ll also find it in the knowledge lecture for the Practicus grade in Regardie’s The Golden Dawn — that was my original source for it.

    David BTL, we all do. You’re simply aware of it, which gives you a head start.

    Patricia M, fascinating. I wonder if it’s beginning to sink in, among science fiction writers and readers, that the industrial age is running out of time.

    Walt, I suspect the polar plunge does indeed have old and interesting roots, but you’d have to do some research to find out what they are.

    Scotlyn, yes, that’s another of the methods — a somewhat riskier one, though you seem to have handled it skillfully.

    Renaissance, it was Yeats, not Joyce — the thought of James Joyce as a magician is fascinating, but alas, no such luck. You may well be right about the fixation on the medieval past, though — but it’s something I want to break through, as part of making it easier for people to think magically here and now. As for the book, was it possibly Fred Saberhagen’s Empire of the East? The first part of that featured a tank misunderstood as an elephant.

    Kimberly, glad to hear it. I use Japanese and Korean incenses by preference because they produce very little smoke; I haven’t used any of those specific Shoyeido varieties, but I’ve used just about every incense you can imagine in Druid ritual with good results, so any of them ought to be fine.

    Kevin, so noted! It’s partly class bigotry — those are the jobs of the deplorables, after all — and partly the relentless pressure of public school systems, which prop up the academic industry by maximizing the number of high school graduates who go straight to college.

    Admin, funny. I’d reframe it completely — “the first time a person planted a seed, our species finally got around to learning how to do something that Nature had been doing for a billion years.”

    Rationalist, I’ve heard about them, and wondered which eccentric millionaire got a bug up and decided to do something that odd.

  266. Regarding progressives making the past appear nastier than it was, their main trick seems to be take the worst aspect of every era and pretend that it was universal prior to 1968. So the past consists of Medieval levels of idisease, Georgian levels of slavery, Victorian standards of industrial pollution, 1930’s attitudes to ethnic minorities, and 1950’s persecution of homosexuals . The terms “Medieval”, “Victorian” and “the 1950’s” are used particularly perjoratively, and are invariably preceded by the words “going back to”. I sometimes wonder how much it would mess with their heads if someone were to talk about “advancing towards the standards of the 1950’s” or “progressing towards Victorian levels”.

  267. Hi JMG,

    That’s cool! I can’t imagine what your reaction would be to any of it, haha. I won’t be offended if you loathe it, it is not most people’s cup of tea!

    Since I don’t imagine we’ll discuss this again, you might find it interesting to know that the audience for these shows often engage in a kind of symbolic fighting “in the pit” which is a spiralling move of people throwing each other around and sometimes punching and kicking out. The rhythmic nature of this music is pointing towards this type of violent dancing. A lot of people seem primarily into this aspect of the shows, that it is an important violent release for them.

    Usually it’s controlled and relatively safe, but the rules bend depending on the rules of the scene and sub genre (how much you understand you are likely to be hurt). I’ve never seen one where people were intentionally hurting each other, usually you see people break out of it to help each other (especially when someone falls to the ground), but I’ve seen them violent enough that people were walking away with large bleeding wounds – and certainly ones violent enough that I stayed away myself. Being in them is totally weird too, there’s a core of nothing, then a violent circle and uncertainty, and then a kind of throng of people pushed by the swirl. Sometimes you end up just pressed into a mass of people unable to move.

    These “pits” kind of emerge and then ebb back out of existence, going off cues in the music and how “heavy” people feel they are. This is the motor that drives this music I think, more and more compelling musical and rhythmical innovations that inspire this feeling which you allow yourself to be taken up in and contribute to manifesting maybe around you. It’s like a huge release of some kind of energy. Reading you discuss rituals of various kinds I’ve wondered what was happening at them. It seems likely to be more than the participants understand, perhaps just discovered by accident over time.

    It’s certainly NOT catering to what I’d picture a “Baroque” experience being, but I do find there are points of similarity somehow in the music (despite some pretty obvious differences!). It’s actually how I first became familiar with the harpsichord, for instance, as bands were using it in intros to their songs. Same with classical guitar etc.


  268. What kind of impressions do Ishu Patel’s animations make on you?
    See here:
    At least for me, Perspectrum (1975) induces almost an autistic trance (turn off other lights in the room!), and Afterlife (1978) is intensive in other ways. Also, I especially like the “dream scene” in Top Priority (1981).
    In all his videos I sense a message that seeps from some other plane, not quite explainable. Is it a kind of visual magic?
    BTW, there was an old interview of him in Youtube, now deleted, where he explains his urge to give a visible form for what he sees in his mind. Note those lozenges of Perspectrum, they make also a dramatic appearance in Divine Fate (1993).

  269. Re reading material

    Just received my recently-ordered copies of Jung’s Man and His Symbols and A. P. Sinnet’s The Growth of the Soul. Thriftbooks is a wonderful thing, but alas my shelf space is finite.

  270. Hello JMG

    I’d like to raise a homeopathic question — and a rather unconventional one — which I am doing here since I don’t know how many still visit previous posts (where the last one did contain some discussion on matters homeopathic), but also since this is an “open post.”

    It revolves around urine therapy. For those unfamiliar, it’s a therapeutic approach which appears to have gained some traction among the more adventurous types out there (including a few YouTube channels devoted to tracking undertaken regimens). It seems to be a somewhat offbeat option in India (even while somewhat situated within Ayurveda parameters), where it goes by the name of amaroli or shivambu, and is generally considered an “ancient” practice.

    The use of urine therapy (taken fresh orally, as well as body compresses using old urine, which is popular in Russian folk medicine tradition) might offend some sensibilities who think of it as waste product — which of course it isn’t, but rather, filtered blood which contains an abundance of “runoff” substances (including enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, vitamins, antibodies). Urine is clinically sterile for at least the first 20 to 30 minutes.

    Anecdotes: Indian prime minister Morarji Desai appeared on the 60 Minutes (back in 1978) and admitted to a regular daily practice, to a shocked Dan Rather who’d asked what had kept him youngish and in such good shape. Also, John W. Armstrong was a British naturopath who wrote his fascinating book (1944) on the topic called “The Water of Life,” which detailed case histories of all the people he helped over several decades, resolving many serious cases.

    Anyway, given the attitude of many in this field that this is already a kind of homeopathic approach for healing, it is not surprising that a few have actually recommended creating your own homeopathic remedy from a drop of your urine, which probably seems a more palatable approach for many. Do you (or Chrysanthemum) have any opnions on the matter? Many thanks in advance. (And apologies for accidently posting it IN the last post instead of here, which is what I am doing belatedly.)

  271. Gigoachef, that’s standard practice during any large-scale emergency — did you think, for example, that FEMA jumps through all the environmental hoops when doing initial salvage and cleanup after a hurricane? It’s indefinite this time, of course, because we don’t know when the outbreak will be over.

    Phil, it would be nice if we could advance toward the standards of the 1950s, when corporate executives only made 40 times what their factory jobs paid, and when a working class family with one salary could count on a place to live, a car to drive, and three square meals a day!

    Johnny, thanks for this. Sounds like the mosh pit at a really lively punk concert.

    A Karhumaa, they don’t, because I don’t enjoy watching little colored blobs dance around on glass screens, thus don’t do video of any kind.

    Petrus, I’ve heard of it, but I’ve got to confess that it squicks me out and I’ll stick to ordinary cell salts, thank you.

  272. John—

    Given your recent releases of revised editions, do you have any plans to produce a revision of your book on Atlantis? I, for one, would be interested in hearing of your thoughts on that subject in the time since the original was published.

  273. @Walt F: Thank you for the report on cold showers. Several years ago, I began joining a Polar Plunge in Narrgansett Bay at noon on New Year’s Day with a group of friends. My daughter started a couple years earlier, and after she dared me, I joined in. Last year, my wife joined. The water temperature is in the low 40s, and the air temp varies from 30 ish to mid 50s. The feeling of pure pleasure and vigor getting out of the water has to be felt to be believed. Perhaps I will follow your lead in my showers. Perhaps….

    That technical Utopia that’s just around the corner just got another kick in the b@[[& today: OneWeb, which proposed a network of satellites to provide internet service all over the world, just shut down today. They had already launched some 70 of their proposed network of 600 satellites. I suppose Elon Musk’s similar network Starlink is not far behind. An acquaintance, part of the well paid PMC, was laid off this afternoon. I’m old enough to remember Iridium, hailed as the future of mobile phone service, and it’s spectacular burn up of $6 billion before the US taxpayer bailed it out.

    Meanwhile, I’m listening to Dylan’s latest called Murder Most Foul. It’s a long rambling meditation on 11/23/63 and the times to follow, and it’s just right for our day.

  274. A further thought coming from the bankruptcy of OneWeb: maybe the gyrations of the financial sector will halt the inevitable rollout of 5G for those of us haven’t been subjected to it yet. One can only hope.

  275. Hope this isn’t too close to the Unmentionable… But… I’m dismayed by the extent to which I called it.

    “…But we do know that unlike the previous recession, the causes of today’s underlying economic misfortunes are not caused by any fundamental weakness of the financial system. This is why economists like Canadian leading expert Peter Hall predict that the global economy will rebound quickly once the outbreak stabilizes.”

    Also includes the truly amazeballs handwave of, “privacy concerns aside…” when launching into a breathless description of the promising potential (nightmarish rollout) digital citizen monitoring technology in South Korea has for all of us in “smart cities.”

  276. TO JMG,
    I was a child in the 50s and it was OK. We didn’t know we didn’t have air-conditioning and even the big stores didn’t have it here in sub-tropical Queensland. We also had a two weeks’ holiday each year. In the rainy season but I always associate the beach with rain. People believe they can’t do without … but if it isn’t there it doesn’t matter. We also had free hospital treatment and walked a lot.
    There have been riots in the aisles of one of our major alcohol chains. People are scared the bottle shops might be closed soon. Can’t think why. I laughed so much I nearly fell off my legs.

  277. @Salamander

    I’ll check that out. Thank you!

    @ the commentariat

    It’s full-on summer here already– being at home so much has made for good planting time. So many exciting sprouts! I’m finally growing Seminole pumpkins this year, and we’ve planted two fig trees, a birch, a mulberry, and a passionflower vine.

    We’ve been reading our way through the whole series of Ralph Moody memoirs (Little Britches, etc.) and enjoying them immensely– a lot of detail about American life from around 1908 through the twenties– the transition from horse power to cars, ranching, farming, hobo train-riding… a rollicking good read.

  278. @Kevin J another reason there are fewer people entering the trades is that professional class people tell their kids to follow in their footsteps, tradespeople tell their kids to avoid theirs at all costs. Classism is the only ism you can get out of.

    My stepdad was an electrician, self employed. He always struggled to keep apprentices he trained, once they realized how hard on the body the job was. But he was adamant that we were not to go into the trades, even though it was in high demand and struggling. He insisted we get a job that wouldn’t leave us physically broken like him. So many knee surgeries! In the end, he got pancreatic cancer at 57, and the doctors ignored his reports of pain because tradesmen were “supposed to” have serious back pain. The pain was the fact it had spread and made Swiss cheese of his bones; by the time he walked into an emergency room a year later (they later said they didn’t know how he was able to still use his legs) saying he’d kill himself if they didn’t admit him, he had six weeks left. A lot of the tradesmen my age, 38, are already addicted to painkillers or booze, and I know people who’ve died from opioids.

    To succeed, you will need a strong ability to self advocate, a commitment not to ignore ergonomics, and possibly a minor in counselling to help your coworkers get out of the toxic masculinity “men don’t feel pain or use” trap, without threatening their concept of masculinity, too!

  279. Petrus:

    There is evidence from Siberia of the aboriginal use of the mushgroom amanita muscaria for intoxication. There one may ingest the musgroom directly in the first place, or in the second place, one may drink the urine of a person who has recently ingested it. The intoxicant in the mushroom is concentrated in the urine of a person who has ingested it. R. Gordon Wasson discussed the evidence for this practice in his early books “Mushrooms, Russia, and History” (1957) and “Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality” (1968).

    Wasson also concludes that the mysterious Vedic drink Soma was originally prepared from Amanita Muscaria, back in prehistory aeons before ther ancestors of the Vedic priests migrated into India (where, IIRC, Wasson claims amanita muscaria does not grow). This, of course, generated immense academic controversy, which has not yet been resolved to all parties’ satisfaction.

  280. Denys:
    We lived in northeast Pennsylvania when my kids were growing up and being homeschooled so I did see some division between the religious/secular groups, although the groups I had occasional experience with tended to have a little of both. Maybe in the years since the dividing line has become firmer. Susan and Howard Richman did try to create a big enough tent with Pennsylvania Homeschoolers to accommodate almost everyone.

    When my kids were school age there was an interesting range of parenting that I observed. On one hand were the parents whose lives bordered on the chaotic and always seemed to be in over their heads. They really did need schools to provide some sense of consistency for their children. On the other were the parents who organized nearly every moment of their children’s lives with an eye to some sort of advanced degree from a prestigious college one day, a decade or so in the future, because that’s what success is supposed to look like. My husband and I definitely did not fall into the second category, I just can’t be that obsessive. I’d been to college and done well, but I saw too much expensive time-wasting and just-barely-enough-effort-to-pass behavior ever to believe that college was as special as we’re supposed to think – and when I was attending, there weren’t degrees in Victim Studies of various sorts and ‘social justice’ had not yet gained much of a footing.

    By the way, is there still the huge annual homeschooling fair every May at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg? We met lots of nice people there every year.

  281. Regarding my revelation on how most “woke” terms date back to the 1960s and 1970s New Left, that would also explain the Maoist style of many SJWs as described in these articles:

    There aren’t the physical terrors but much of the style is the same including its belief in “Black Categories” and “Red Categories”. At least the Maoists had good music:

  282. A question for JMG and the commentariat who has or now does live in the Southern United States, but which I mean Slave States by the time of the US Civil War:

    For the past few months I’ve studied the US Civil War. I’m curious, if I may ask, what your impression is of the cultural legacy of the Confederacy in the modern South? In the North, hardly anyone thinks about it except to denounce old statues. On my end, while solidly Northern in my sentiments — I was born in Boston! — I have a sympathy for the South on account of the undeniable brilliance, intelligence, valor, courage, and manfulness of so many of the Confederates.

    Something that I don’t see discussed in any sort of sensible way is how folks in the South tend to feel about Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and Nathan Bedford Forrest, how they feel about the Lost Cause, how they feel about the utter defeat at the hands of Northerners in 1865.

    And so I ask JMG and the folks here. I’ve lived in the South, and what I found the most remarkable is that…amongst Southerners it almost never came up…at least not around me, and even then, only in New Orleans which felt edgy, turbulent, and somehow dissident compared to other portions of the South. I somehow doubted in my bones though, and I still doubt, that the Confederacy or the US Civil Was has been in anyway forgotten and so I inquire here.

  283. Yeats… right… (Have I mentioned I have a mental bloc about names?) Irish poet, and Joyce was the name that came to my mind.
    This is not to say that there aren’t some very entertaining books and shows, and yes, “Empire of the East” was the book; I read the omnibus edition, so all three at once. Again, cool premise: magic works, and set in the future, not medieval times.

    As to magic in the modern world, have you not come across the term Urban Fantasy? A genre with magic and magical creatures set in the modern world. There are dozens of authors — my favourites are Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman — and plenty of TV series and movies (although I know you don’t watch those) about magic and sorcery set in the modern world.

  284. I am a long-time lurker and occasional poster on the old blog. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.. Several people mentioned comets above. There is a comet on the way in to the inner solar system. It will be appearing during April near Ursa Major, pass between Perseus and Auriga during May, reach perihelion and probable maximum brightness on May 31, then head toward Orion and disappear in June. More details at I don’t know how that translates into the astrological houses, I’m sure our host does. My questions are, does mundane astrology take comets like this into consideration, do they need to be visible to the naked eye, and given its time and place of arrival, what kind of portent might this be?

  285. @Robert (re: your post to me)

    The tactics of Maoists (particularly during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution) come to mind more regarding the contemporary cultural left.

    Keep in mind that the original New Left were big fans of Maoism. They recited his slogans (“It’s right to rebel!”) and carried around his little Red Book everyone. Just like now, this reverence of Maoism was en vogue among both highly educated (and white) “smart set” types and the likes of the Black Panthers. British philosopher John Gray describes some of this here:

    I doubt most contemporary SJWs have heard of, let alone been, directly inspired by Maoism but they would love most of its nostrums. Much of the contemporary obsession with “unconscious” and “implicit” bias, Mao demanded, “thought reform”. The “struggle sessions” to publicaly and psychologically humiliate “enemies” of the Revolution (real or imagined). The hatred for anything smacking of “colonialism”. The constant evaluation of all culture on the basis of “revolutionary” doctrine. The drive to “Smash the Four Olds” (Customs, Culture, Habits, and Ideas (not to mention microaggressions)). The Manichean division of the world into “Black Categories” and “Red Categories”. The anti-intellectualism and faith in a vanguardist “will to power” above all else.

  286. David BTL, I do indeed, but it won’t be a revision — it’ll be a complete rewrite. I’m very dissatisfied with that book; it needs a top-to-bottom reworking, and will appear under a new title.

    Peter, thanks for this. Excellent news!

    Sara, all the more reason to live as far as possible from the enclaves of the pampered!

    JillN, I was born in 1962 so missed the 50s, but it’s not too hard to read up on it and find out that nobody in the industrial world was living in caves and hunting mammoths then…

    Michelle, thanks for both of these. ADF, the Druid order featured in the article, is about as far from the kind of Druidry I practice as it’s possible to get, but I’m glad they’re getting some favorable publicity.

    Violet, the one place I’ve lived that was south of the Mason-Dixon line, in western Maryland, was a solidly pro-Union region during the war. The war is still a live issue — most locals whose families are from that area can tell you which side their ancestors fought on, in which units, and in which battles, and the site of a local battle a few miles east of town is well known locally and well discussed. The highly pro-Union mayor of the town during those years is kind of a hero among local Freemasons, as he went on to become Grand Master and founded a lot of lodges; the local Episcopalian church does tours of the tunnels in the basement where they used to hide escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad. The political dimension, though, is rarely discussed — it’s the local events ahd happenings that are remembered.

    Renaissance, yes, I’ve encountered a little of it, and didn’t like it much, which is probably why it didn’t come to mind. You’re right, though.

    Jeff, comets are a big deal in mundane astrology, but I can’t cast a chart for it until I know the location it’s in when it first becomes visible to the naked eye. Once that happens, the shape, the color, the position, and the motions of the comet all become fodder for interpretation.

  287. I’ve got a hypothesis about the brittleness of the Democrats: I’m wondering if it comes from the defeats suffered during the Bush administration, plus the betrayal of the Obama administration.

    I recall the Bush years being traumatic on a number of levels, and they lead to the groundswell that elected Obama, who literally ran on Hope and Change. None of that paid off, and Obama governed as a pragmatic centrist, which left the events of the Bush administration unresolved. Judging by what I’ve seen in the left-leaning blogosphere, this was a literally intolerable turn of events, so that they’re locked into continually denying what actually happened, and constantly recapitulating it, constantly trying to defeat George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

    (A variation of this is to see current events as a replay of the Nixon administration. This is certainly the stance of my parents, and it wasn’t all that long ago I was stuck in this sort of dysfunctional cycle.)

    This leads me to wonder if trauma could be said to create a pseudomyth, a chain of events that lurks constantly in the background of the traumatized person. But rather than helping to make sense of the world, as a myth does, it destroys meaning, so that the person is left continually recreating the events to try to resolve them.

    So the veteran may recapitulate the war, the rape survivor may seek out violent sexual situations, and the abuse survivor may seek out another abuser, or become one herself.

  288. I’ve gotten so tired of the phrase “unprecedented”. Nothing happening right now is unprecedented. It’s only the fact we have short historical memories that make any of this seem surprising. (Feel free to delete if too close to the banned topic)

  289. I’ve been taking a gardening class through the Colorado State extension. With the onset of the coronavirus, classes have moved online, with the bulk of the material presented in video form. Apparently Americans are so immersed in electronic media that no one thinks anything of handing out multiple links to five hour long youtube videos – they’re just as good as sitting in a live classroom, right?

    This is proving to be a problem for me. My neural pathways have shifted or something, but anymore it’s extremely difficult for me to sit in front of a screen for more than an hour, and video has become actively repellent.

    I’ll have to wade through somehow, but I wanted to present this small episode in the ongoing media-ization of the American culture, CoVID edition.

  290. Since the topic of western martial arts has come up a couple of times, I trust that John will permit me this followup.

    With respect to staff weapons in particular, for historical sources one might start here: Three teachers of Italian stick fighting are listed here. Jogo do Pau is also practiced today, as is the French Canne de combat. There is also the English Singlestick tradition. One might look through Wiktenauer (referenced above) for pole weapons. With respect to unarmed fighting, medieval wrestling is being revived today, with a modern manual on the topic in English based on historical sources (again, look at Wiktenauer for grappling).

    There is a bit more here to add as well. The frontispiece of a famous sixteenth century Italian fencing manual shows an armed man kneeling in a circle inscribing alchemical or magical symbols around himself. It includes a chapter on how to use astrology in one’s favor in combat. At the turn of the 18th century a Spanish nobleman, whose fencing theory and practice is informed by Euclid and Aristotle, had a good grounding in astrology, music, medicine and geography. I thought I’d cite his mention of the Kabbalah, since that topic is of interest to some reading this.

    … in science, and knowledge, three requisites are needed to begin with: the understood, understanding, and the one with intelligence, which the Cabalists call decimal sum (?), which is explained with the word Sephiroth. This is, of all the numberings, adding by authority of the Rabbi Abraham, three Hebrew terms, which are Sopher, Sepher, Sophur, [cf. Dubuis, Qabala, I, 10, 6] which signify numberer, number and numbered, because if these three concur no more in the one than the other, all error is excluded, and evidence results, so also understanding, the one understanding, and the understood, when they acquire union, agreeing to a nearness (?), since all knowledge, says Porphyry, is assimilation of that which is known. And the same will be perfect knowledge, when the one knowing, the knowable, and the known unite, three things concurring, the two as extremes, and the other as mean, which unites the extremes, and the same will be in the perfect knowledge, when the one knowing, the knowable and the known unite, concurring, when the one with intelligence, or the one knowing, one extreme, and the first in the soul, which signifies the aptitude and faculty of understanding, as the Sephiroth [taken here a a singular] is the one which numbers. The other extreme will be the known, as is shown in the Sephiroth, the numbered. And the mean between the extremes is that knowledge which delays in being acquired, until the knowing soul, or the one with intelligence, achieves the true apprehension. [He’ll go on to cite Proclus, Ficino, Philo and Plotinus among many others. The idea here is to inform the practitioners of the martial art he’s teaching with the world of knowledge, and at the same time to integrate the martial art he’s teaching into that world of knowledge.]

    Hermeticism and allied teachings survived until the end of the Renaissance (which ended in Spain later than it did in other parts of Europe), and one periodically bumps into references to this material when reading the martial literature of that period; one can bump into references to physiognomy even as late as the 19th century. In this literature one will occasionally find references to the four temperaments (sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric and melancholic), for example, in the context of how best to deal with opponents dominated by one of these temperaments. This knowledge was part of the knowledge of educated people in this period; they had a sophisticated understanding of what is required when training (the author cited above will talk about the meditation of the sword, as if training is a kind of active meditation) and the “psychological game” when “playing” (hence the references, in period language, to the temperaments).

    Historical European martial arts, even though they died out, most of them, and have only recently been revived, are in many instances very well documented. We can revive them precisely on that account. Thibault, as John has said, is a prime example of a very well documented system of fighting, reflecting a sophisticated underlying knowledge.

  291. @Patricia Matthews: Oh, see, I liked it better when the weirdness came in–doesn’t hurt that the third generation was the first one in which I didn’t want to slap one of the major POV female characters silly (Matti was marginally better than Signe, but only marginally)–but the more weird horror/fantasy stuff the better as a general rule for me.

    But yeah: one of the things I liked was seeing how all the different societies evolved, and how legends of our world ended up being passed down.

    @David BTL: Oof, yeah. That’s one I think a lot of our society, myself included, suffers from–there’s a lot of pressure to be at or in advance of where other people are in everything, or where you think other people are. As I’ve gotten older, and especially as I’ve read more true crime etc., it’s helped to realize that very few people actually have everything together as much as they might project that they do, and if I’m not as enlightened as some, I’m also not a serial killer or creepily obsessed with a sibling or spending most of my salary on cocaine, so on average I’m doing pretty well.

    @Tripp and Patricia O: Thank you! We’ve got a bunch of blow-downs along the trails here that I might try and turn into kindling when it’s dry enough to walk again–we also have a normal stove that Dad moved out to our porch, which might be useful too–and it’d be nice to have a use for them. I’ll look up rocket stoves as well!

    @JMG: Thank you! And good idea–we went to the local today, and they definitely have a lot I don’t grow, but also lack some of the things I ordered in seed form, so that works out well.

  292. RE: The Southern States

    As a person who was born and raised in Texas, I can’t say much distinction was made between the North and the South by the people around me, other than my family who were born in Pennsylvania. My grandfather always made comments about how Yankees were better and stronger because of this reason or that. I couldn’t find much comment about Yankees from Rebels. But there is definitely something that permeates the atmosphere, a distinction between the two regions. It’s unspoken. After reading T.R. Fehrenbach’s “Lone Star”, I better was able to find a lot of unspoken resentment towards the Union because of their hypocrisy in claiming moral superiority. Without a doubt that undercurrent still exists within the psyche of Southerners, but probably a thing felt yet not understood. Personally, I do find myself a bit sympathetic with the region, and have long felt the pull towards a place that felt more deserving of independence than it currently has.

    Public education has definitely served a lot towards suppressing feelings of resentment and definitely towards the virtuousness of Northern ideology. One of my most vivid memories from school was an essay exam in which I was to pick one of three moments post Civil War which were the most important to our nation. All three were in regards to the Civil Rights movement. It was obvious to me my freedom of thought was being restricted then, and that was 1997. I can’t imagine how things have changed since.

    There is still though the knowledge that those in the South say “Yes sir/ma’am”, that they’ll drink iced tea, and have biscuits and gravy. That is to say, there is still a recognition of a separate cultural identity, one which has nothing to do with slavery, or the results of the Civil War.

  293. @JMG – thanks for your response. Perfectly understood.

    @Robert – thanks as well, although your anecdotes are a bit on the exotic side in terms of what I was looking for. My interest in the idea of creating the remedy from one’s own water was the sense that it could be considered ideal — that is, it would constitute the most personally customized kind of remedy, since it would incorporate what was derived from the subject directly.

    A particular question seems important, in considering the homeopathic principle of “like cures like.” In this case would the remedy’s effectiveness be more certain, with the sample drawn — not when one is in good health (and perhaps produced for a later time), but when one is already experiencing imbalance or illness or having some condition — so that this “negative” factor would be included as the curative “toxic” element that, in being magnified energetically when producing the subsequent dilutions, it meaningfully becomes the element which cures?

  294. Hey jmg

    Not really a question, more a interesting “coincidence.”

    When I heard that the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan are cancelled I recalled how everyone was amazed that those games were happening in the first place since the 1980 science fiction manga Akira predicted them happening.

    I see the Olympic cancellation as another sign that the future that people were expecting, and which Akira partly depicted, at least in the earlier volumes, is not coming.

  295. Dear JMG – Most of my dreams are kind of mental fluff, and I can figure out what triggered them and they’re pretty easily parsed. But about a week ago, I had one, that sticks with me, and I can’t quit figure it out. An owl (who was not threatening) flew out of the side of a sinkhole (it was just there. No buildings or people falling in) and took a good look at me. End of dream.

    I wondered if you had any thoughts, or, if you could recommend a good book (but our library is closed, for the duration) or website? Stuff on the web concerning owls or sinkholes, all seems pretty contradictory. Thank you in advance, Lew

  296. @ Sara Duncan

    My father is a tradesman who was always adamant that I should go to university. Nevertheless, I ended up doing a lot of work with him and became semi-skilled myself before going off to study.

    There was one guy who worked with my father, an older guy in his 60s who looked like he was in his forties. He took good care of himself at work, always wore proper protective gear, always cleaned himself up at the end of the day, always refused to do things quick and dirty (and physically destructive) when they could be done properly. He got teased relentlessly by the others in the factory in language that’s not allowed on this forum. He never cared and gave as good as he got. I always thought he was the biggest man there.

    But, yes, there’s a definite cult of self destructiveness in certain sub-cultures of modern masculinity.

  297. Hey JMG

    I just finished translating “A Wind That Tastes Of Ashes”. I don’t remember paying much attention to it back when you wrote it. I must have lost interest being more political than occult centered in the topic, but I wanted to ask you if you had any comments on how that panned out. To be frank, Wyldermuth’s text about the New Right, now the Alt-Right, seems pretty accurate judging by what I have seen the alt right adopt as a spirituality

    I don’t know enough about politics to claim to know what’s best, but I really don’t like joining an occult community full of nazis for the nth time. I think you can agree that as anything in life, tolerance can have it’s limits, and tolerating ideologies whose agenda implies the death of everyone below an arbitrary biological bar does not sound like a good idea.

    Although I am very uncomfortable disagreeing with people I admire, this is a modest excercise of dissent in the name of my personal freedom of thought.

    Best wishes.


  298. @Aidan

    The things we’re talking about were already going on in the US well before the fad for Chairman Mao and his Little Red Book in the ’70s, at least in places where I was living at the time. (I saw them in action in Berkeley in the years 1958-1967.)

    On another note, I appear to have been mistaken about the origins of the term “politically correct.” Examples of it in Russian appear to be later than examples of it in English (which go back as far as the ’30s), to judge by web searches. Either way, the term arose in the context of Stalin-era Communism.

  299. JillN,

    Our grocery stores are getting pillaged daily, both by locals and by folks escaping urban centers. Sometimes it looks so bleak it really does remind me of Armageddon! But every time I go in, or the one time I’ve been to the liquor store, there’s just as much stock as ever! Ah, the joys of living in a small Baptist town, where during a crisis they can all keep an even closer eye on each other’s piety…

    Anyway, more for me.

  300. Back to the garden…

    Here in Dixie we’ve had 3 brilliant days of weather and I used them to the fullest. The first of those was really too wet still to dig in the soil, so I hunted morels and scored some of the largest grays I’ve ever found. We had morels with dinner Wednesday and Thursday!

    All day Thursday and Friday I spent digging mounded garden beds and planting. Got in a first wave of potatoes, Tuscan kale, lots of broccoli, spinach, lettuces, sage, cilantro, dill, and flat-leaf parsley. I also planted a pretty little red flowering crabapple in the front yard. Since some of the morels I found were growing under crabs I took it as a cue and made a morel stem-butt slurry, per Paul Stamets, and poured it into the roots before backfilling the hole. Here’s hoping those take hold! (Morels in my front yard? What a thought!)

    And now honestly I’m pulling for a little rain to settle everything in…

  301. JMG,
    That sounds like a pretty brilliant use of geomantic wisdom to me. I’ve just started on the meditation sequence you outline in APoG, so maybe one of these days I’ll have a feel for combinations that nuanced. Thanks for the reply!

  302. John, it’s sad to hear that you can see nothing else but little colored blobs dancing in any video. Reminds me of what I read somewhere, that because of their different kind of vision, dragonflies, like most insects, would find our movies painfully boring.

    But how about static visual arts? Like for example, Nicholas Roerich and Wassily Kandinsky? The work of the latter was much more modern, while the former much more traditional in his art, but both of them emphasized the spiritual aspects in their work and whole life. Kandinsky was inspired by John Varley’s illustrations in “Thought-Forms”, and Roerich founded Agni-Yoga.

    And what about music, like e.g., the “dynamic duo”, Gurdjieff & de Hartmann ? Sometimes I even think that those whom are the most creative artistically, are otherwise so fragile, that they almost need a “guru”, to give them “discipline”. Whether this is viewed as psychological support or abuse, well, I guess it differs case by case.

  303. Violet,
    re: the War of Northern Aggression

    What utter defeat?

    There’s a fairly common bumper sticker down here that asks, “Have you ever heard of Southerners retiring and moving Up North?” That expresses our feelings about Yankees pretty well!

  304. „Admin, have you done a divination to see if that’s a good idea?“ – err, no, I was asking you about more details about what you meant about the placebo effect

  305. @ Violet – an interesting story my mother tells is that she grew up (in the 40’s and 50’s) thinking that “d**mYankee” was a single word.

    She was born in Boston, her mother a domestic servant from New England, and her father a small Alabama farmer’s son who ran away as an under-age teenager to join the merchant navy, and after many travels and adventures met my grandmother and settled in Boston, where, though he lived there the rest of his life, never stopped seeing the world as a southerner.

    My family contains many threads that tell of class conflict. All my great-grandparents were agrarian, small farmers. My mother’s parents each made the generational journey into waged working class city life. My mother’s family, to this day, are solidly anti-liberal Boston-based waged working class people.

    My father’s family tended to small farmers who threw off an occasional preacher son, and were deeply appreciative of third level education. My father’s parents both emigrated from Nova Scotia to Boston in the late 1920’s to become a small shop-keeper and a nurse who eventually started her own small nursing home. That is to say, they made the generational journey into small business and a certain notion of status, and invested heavily in their own children’s college educations. My father’s family to this day are solidly liberal professional, salaried class people (living in many different cities).

    My mother was the first in her family to go to college, via scholarships, to become a trained nurse. My father intended to become a medical missionary*, and much of their early courtship revolved around this aspiration, until my father realised he didn’t have what it took to succeed at his medical studies, and decided to study divinity and become a reverend instead (which aspiration was largely supported by my mother’s early earnings as a qualified nurse).

    Some of the discussions of class on this blog and its predecessors helped me to see, appreciate and understand many things. Such as the fact that my father’s family believe (but never say) that he married “beneath himself” when he married my mother. And the fact my mother’s family believe (but never say) that my father turned out to be mostly all right, despite his stuck-up family, and at least you can watch a football match on the tv with him.

    (My parents are their own people of course, and all of this goes largely over their heads, I think).

    For myself, I went to college, and enjoyed the studying and reading and learning very much. Still, I often felt “at odds” and it wasn’t only because when I first arrived there I was determined not to have my faith undermined by the academic godless materialism I knew I was heading into in 1978. (In the event, that evangelical faith was eventually laid down, and after many transformations, others were taken up, but that’s another story). But as I got close to graduating I realised that I lacked what many of my college friends took for granted – family connections that would get them employed on graduation. Nothing like that was going to happen for me, and, also, I discovered that I did not have much in the way of ambition to put in its stead. So, I took my well-educated self into a peripatetic, seemingly goalless wandering existence that continued until, coming full circle, I met (and eventually married) the farmer who allowed me to rediscover my agrarian self, and to set roots in a place, in Ireland.

    Anyway, it is noticeable that class is still a potent predictor of the kind of thing that my father’s family vs my mother’s family, are liable to post on FB, when they do. And of their likely attitudes towards the political and economic and religious issues that arise. And I am grateful to this blog for helping me to see it, understand it, and finally, to have compassion for the ways class division stalls communications and to hold the “communications bridges” from one side to the other open to the extent that I can.

    And, apologies, this ramble doesn’t really answer your question, although your question started this thread in my mind. I hope you don’t mind the “open post” style diversionary ramble. 🙂

    *reader, my parents did become missionaries, and took us to live in Costa Rica, when I was five years old. They still live there.

  306. Re: becoming an electrician

    Mr. Beekeeper in Vermont has been an electrician for many years, almost exclusively industrial and commercial construction. He got his training through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) which has an outstanding apprenticeship program. Being in the union also means you don’t have to hustle for jobs because the business agent does that, there are excellent medical benefits, and some sort of pension plan.

    One of the most valuable side benefits of working in construction, in any trade, is that you get to watch the other trades do their jobs and you can ask questions. This is how John (Mr. Beekeeper) learned to do first-rate carpentry and competent plumbing, which we put to use all the time in our house, barn, and other outbuildings. It has saved us gobs and gobs of money over the years to be able to do things ourselves and to do them right.

    The one thing for which you’ll need to develop a plan of some sort is for the times when there isn’t work. Get used to being laid off at the end of a job and, if you’ve got nothing lined up, be sure you have squirreled away enough to carry you and your family over until the next job. It’s something all tradespeople have to get used to. When times are good, sock that money away because a recession, bad weather (you might be on an outside job, the electricians were sent home, for example, during thunderstorms; duh), and other things can suddenly change the work situation and income can disappear.

    Do pay attention to your joints, though. John has had two knee replacements, the first went beautifully. After the second one, however, he immediately developed CIDP (chronic inflammatory demylenating polyneuropathy), per the neurologist it was most likely from the anesthesia. Now he has all kinds of nerve damage and muscle weakness which has dramatically affected his life. He’s not disabled, but everything takes so much longer than it used to, he tires easily, and I have become ace apprentice for all construction jobs around the farm and do the things that demand feeling in one’s fingertips, which he no longer has.

  307. @ James M Jensen II and JMG re reply to my point about CSL’s debate with Anscombe: yes we all agree on the main point, that cognition and meaning are incompatible with monist materialism; but with regard to the more personal mystery, of why CSL (according to what one hears) put up such a poor show in the debate, I still am baffled as to why he didn’t just stick to the unanswerable and obvious point, which is, as you (Jensen) say, that if the monist-mechs are right, mental activity is mere physical activity, and therefore the utterances to which it gives rise have no meaning or value.

    Perhaps all one can say is, anyone can have an off-day now and then.

  308. Hi JMG,

    Yes exactly, I think that is where it comes from.. Somehow the aggression of punk funneled over time into this very different thing.

    I have had limited exposure to the punk world, but my experience of the scene was with the hardcore punk end of it, which I found was quite rule based and not welcoming of outsiders who didn’t adhere. At the time I encountered it I was a person who happened, coincidentally, to fall in line with a lot of their “big” rules but just didn’t adjust my style to their fashion sense, and didn’t understand that metal and other things I thought were personal matters of taste or opinion were “wrong”. As a result I always committing these social faux pas and so I never quite clicked with it.. Metal shows were generally more open to losers and random people, you might see guys in business suits at shows occasionally even without people caring too much. It might have been completely different in different cities though, but in my experience, if I happen to be wearing a metal t-shirt in a city I don’t know, random metal fans will talk to me.


  309. @ Wesley re the rejection of the myth of progress in Anderson’s “Brain Wave”: I hadn’t thought of that, but yes, it does seem to be a theme in the book. Come to think of it, what we know now about the huge number of extrasolar planets, and the paucity of interstellar visitors or signallers (none proved so far), is suggestive, to say the least.

    Well, anyhow, who cares about ‘progress’ anyway? Thirty years ago my local Jobcentre had a very charming and capable lady interviewer who placed me and others with suitable employers. Nowadays there’s nothing but a computer screen, and you can’t get a job without applying facelessly online. There’s ‘progress’ for you. C**p, I call it.

    Perhaps long-lived idyllic ecotechnic philosophical contemplative Burkean conservative societies fill most of the Galaxy, and only cultures with the fidgets have short lives. A pleasant thought.

  310. @Reese: thanks for looking into that study, that definitely sheds some light on to things!

  311. I would like to suggest a materialist hypothesis of why and to what extent Astrology works. That hypothesis could potentially help choose the kind of phenomena for which it can make meaningful predictions and those for which it can’t.

    Some context first. Astrology is an offshoot of the study of celestial bodies. Celestial bodies move in *cycles*, they *influence each other*’s movements to different degrees through gravitational forces, each body has a *different period* in their cycle, and their movements are *predictable*.

    Even if we do not understand the complete cause-effect relationships, or the feedback loops involved, many social and natural phenomena are also cyclic, their cycles are influenced by the interaction between the components of the system, each component may have its own period(s), and could reasonably be predicted if the components as well as their interactions could be identified and described in sufficient details. Sometimes, however it may be hard to pinpoint exactly what a “component” for the system is (ex: it may itself emerge from the interaction of multiple sub-components) or what all the relevant interactions between the components are, but it may be much easier however to notice macro cyclical effect.

    So here is now the working hypothesis: Some social and natural phenomena are *analogous* to the movement of some celestial bodies because their underlying causes can be correlated with the movement of celestial bodies. By careful observation of effects and changes of the systems under study at the same time as the movement of celestial bodies, an astrologer can uncover the correlations between the two and start using the latter to make predictions about the former. In modern jargon, an astrologer effectively uses the movement of celestial bodies as a form of “simulation” for the system under study, not that different from what could be achieved with a computer, but without having to explicitly model all the components and interactions under study. As a discipline, Astrology is therefore the systematic identification and characterization of social and natural phenomenons that can be correlated with celestial bodies, and the organization of that knowledge in techniques that can reliably and easily be used to make useful predictions about them. Moreover, some periodic cycles for social and natural phenomena would require careful observation and records over centuries and millennia to uncover correlations, therefore as a discipline it would require quite some time to mature (compared to, let’s say, modern physics).

    From a philosophical standpoint, that hypothesis avoids some of the problems I had when I got confronted with astrology:
    1. the sometimes implied hypothesis that celestial bodies “cause” phenomena in human affairs (this may still be true but is not needed here)
    2. the problem of free will if our actions are determined by the movement of celestial bodies (free will can still exist if only *some* cyclic phenomena can be predicted with astrology, ex: I still have free will even if that does not determine when the Sun will raise in the morning)

    From a social standpoint, and on the one hand, the idea that some social and natural phenomena are cyclic, and not fully under the control of individuals or influential groups, could run counter to some political agenda and therefore could have explained the ostracism of the discipline. On the other hand, the fact that *not all* social and natural phenomena can be predicted (or be predicted in enough details) using celestial bodies as correlates should run in the face of the idea that our lives are *only* determined by the movement of celestial bodies.

    I don’t plan to investigate that hypothesis more than that, but perhaps some people in this community could get some leverage with it :-).

  312. Re earlier posts on this thread

    I appear to keep bouncing between the acceptance and anger stages of Kubler-Ross with re to the processes at play in this portion of this cycle. More material for meditation, I suppose!

    Interestingly, I did a 3-card tarot spread yesterday, using an “understanding the self/past” taxonomy I found: 1) what can be changed, 2) what can’t be changed, and 3) that of which I might be unaware. I got Temperance, ace of swords, and three of cups (reversed). The first two, I believe I understand; the latter not so much. What I took from it is a reminder that while I cannot alter the fact that I feel/experience powerful emotions (ace of swords), I can alter how I process and (re)act on/to them. Not sure what the inverted three of cups might mean in this context.

    In any event, I’m beginning to get an idea at least of what “developing my soul” entails. It involves much that I would have said is not terribly important, but that is also par for the course in my experiences with Whomever She May Be, as she once told me point-blank: “The things you think are important aren’t and the that which is truly important you miss completely.”

  313. Violet, longtime East Tennessee resident here (moved to Knoxville from Virginia Beach in 1995 at age 8 1/2), at least one several-times-great grandfather of mine was a Confederate soldier from North Carolina. There’s a fair bit of casual display of the Confederate flag as a symbol of “Southern pride”, though people usually don’t bring up the Civil War except when the legislature decides to take down a statue of a Confederate officer or, more recently, when legislation went through stating that the governor is no longer required to proclaim Nathan Bedford Forrest Day each year (for those not in the know, Forrest was a Confederate general believed to be the founder of the KKK, though apparently he began to denounce racism very near the end of his life), which brings out the commenters on social media saying they’re trying to “erase history”; never mind that these statues and commemorations were instituted in the Jim Crow era to intimidate black people. There’s still a fair bit of misinformation going around claiming that the war had nothing to do with slavery (basically a half truth: the war was intended first and foremost to bring the rebel states back into the Union, but per their articles of secession, the states seceded in the first place because they feared abolition of slavery). The real irony is that while Tennessee was a Confederate state, more Tennesseans actually fought for the Union. Knoxville was captured by Union forces early on in the war. Sorry if this was too long and rambling.

  314. JMG– Have you done any work with the lunations in Mundane Astrology? Do you have any thoughts on their usefulness?

  315. @James Swanson, re: irony and the Confederate Flag: The real “…buh–huh…” is when I see people displaying it in Pennsylvania or, even further from the Mason-Dixon line, New Hampshire. I guess *some* of them could have come from the South originally, but for the rest…dude, you’re as far in the north as you can get without a passport, this is very clearly not a “regional pride” thing.

    (I’ve heard someone defend it as “expressing my rebel spirit!” and…IDK, I remember the days when I thought reflexively refusing to let anyone tell me what to do was a positive character trait, that defiance for the sake of defiance was awesome and spunky. I also remember turning sixteen. This is not unrelated.)

  316. MethylEthel re comfrey:

    I see someone has already posted a link for purchasing what you need. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer
    type, here is a link below.

    Years ago I purchased a packet of Russian comfrey seeds out of curiosity. They have been growing
    with great enthusiasm ever since. I use the greenery to add to my composter but haven’t tried
    the herbal route yet. I suspect it’s probably time now to do so. There are warnings about eating
    the leaves because of potential toxicity, however somebody forgot to tell the woodchucks and
    deer. Both browse on the herbs with great relish. A woodchuck came one time and picked an
    enormous bottom leaf the size of a dinner plate. He proceeded to munch on it until it completely
    vanished as though he were inhaling it. I wish I had gotten a video of it as it was quite hilarious to watch.

    @ Lew re dream:

    Not a professional dream interpreter by any means but the ‘sinkhole’ sounds like an entry from
    the Otherworld or whatever you want to call it. The owl, in Western culture, is the sacred bird
    of Athene Goddess of Wisdom. Sounds like an invitation is happening.

  317. Re: cold showers – I started the practice on one of my good days, back before this regime of delivered meals (no choice – eat what they send) and social distancing, when I was often feeling vaguely “not the thing” or even somewhat sick, nothing definite enough to put a finger on. So I started by simply turning on the shower and walking in and letting the cold water wake me up until it started turning warm, then start the serious wash-up. Now I’ve gotten to the point of getting in first and then turning it on.

    Mine is one of those shower heads where the volume increases as the heat increases, for what that’s worth: you want ice cold, you get a thin little trickle, though the difference between ice cold and starting-out-cold isn’t clear to me yet. I could turn it up to halfway for starters a see how it comes out. But I no longer demand Hot – just “nice and warm.”

    For what that’s worth.

    Pat, one of Gaia’s frozen people, whose internal thermostat quit 15 years ago. (Spirit animal – reptile?)

  318. Dear JMG, thank you for this perspective! That makes a lot of sense.

    Dear Prizm, Thank you for this!

    Dear Tripp, Thank you for your comment! Please forgive me, but I cannot tell how/to what degree you might be writing facetiously. The War of Northern Aggression is…an interesting locution. As someone who has certain Southern sympathies, to my mind at least, the facts don’t match up given the dynamics of the Ft. Sumter standoff that initiated the war. To my reading, the officers under Beauregard all the way up to Jefferson Davis really did find it expedient to act as the aggressors, at least from the history that I’m familiar with. Basically, South Carolina, and then the Confederacy at large, demanded that the US give up its forts to the new sovereign nation, which of course, even dough-faced President Buchanan refused to do.

    Again, I have more sympathies towards the South than most Northern folks — in many ways I prefer Southern culture to Northern Culture, and I miss the South very greatly. I lived in Middle Tennessee, New Orleans and hitchhiked all throughout Mississippi, Georgia, and North Carolina. I also spent considerable time in Louisville, Tallahassee and Asheville. Altogether I lived in the South for 4 years. From my perspective, at least, the South and the North were equally and obviously implicated in the horrors of slavery. So I’m not trying to make the argument that Lowell, where I lived the first 6 years of my life, is somehow exempt from King Cotton.

    As for folks retiring to the South, and moving to the South, that’s a good point. In a real sense the legacy of carpetbaggers continue, and you have my sympathies there too!

    May I ask, then, in your corner of Dixie, do folks tend to remember the likes of Jefferson Davis, General Forrest, Robert E. Lee, and the Pale Star of Georgia Alexander Stephens? If so, how do folks regard these men? What’s the difference, if I may ask, between how White Folks and Black Folks regard these figures — according to the 2010 census 30.5% of Georgia is Black, and I might think that they might view Sherman’s March to the Sea — which it’s long procession of freed slaves following close behind and his Special Field Orders No. 15 which coined the famous term regarding some “40 acres and a mule” — a little different than White folks. A figure like Forrest may, obviously, be equally polarizing along racial lines. Of course, I write this speculatively, but sincerely and so I hope might respectful ask your informed opinion.

    Dear Scotlyn, many thanks for your meditations on class!

    Dear James Swanson, Thank you for this! If I may, what is your opinion on the last paragraph of my question to Tripp regarding the racial divide in the memory of the US Civil War?

  319. Hi JMG
    Re “What happens to you after you die is a very complex matter, and depends on the whole shape of your life”.

    So broadly speaking, what are some of the major/common factors that determine what happens when you die?

  320. Violet–

    Re the blessed lands of Dixie and its inhabitants

    My childhood was itinerant (common to military families) but I spent far more of my youth below the Mason-Dixon Line than above it. Most particularly, a good chunk of my childhood and young adulthood was spent in South Carolina, especially the Charleston area (back in the days when Charleston still had a naval base). Now SC, and specially Charleston, was ground zero for the conflict (first state to secede and the site of the initiation of hostilities). But as others have said, much with regards to the failed second American Revolution (which is very much what it was) is unspoken in those parts these days. It lay in the separate cultural identity (slower pace, a certain identity with place, and of course “those d— Yankees”), but also in the symbology. I haven’t been down Charleston way in a good many years now, but as I recall, there is a monument (a pillar or obelisk, if I remember correctly) “dedicated to the defenders of Charleston.” Notably absent is any reference to those or that against which Charleston was being defended…

    On the other hand, I see mirror aspect here in Wisconsin. My small town, for example, has a statue in the central park dedicated to “those who fell in defence [sic] of the Union.” I find it interesting that both sides claim a defensive war (a literal impossibility). Strategically speaking, of course, only the Confederacy is correct in saying this, for while the Federals might have been “defending the Union,” they were, in fact, very much suppressing a revolution. The undercurrent of this divide, I believe, is very much alive, if dormant.

    There is a part of me that longs nostalgically for the red hills of the Upstate and the salt marsh of the Low Country (not to mention the cooking!), but I don’t know that I could actually live there again, as I’ve rather fallen in love with this coastal region of the Great Lakes, even if the folks here are much more brusque than I’m used to, even after nearly two decades of living here.

  321. Re Comfrey:

    If I may:

    Master Herbalist Matthew Wood has some really freaky warnings regarding Comfrey and diaper rash: as well as the use of Comfrey in general and it has *nothing* to do with the pyrrolizidine alkaloids. I have found Matthew Wood’s advice very good in practice, and so I pass this information along.

  322. @Cliff,

    You wrote about President Obama running as a liberal but governing as a “pragmatic centrist.”

    No doubt that Obama, along with most of the pols in Washington, fit into that category, but you’ve got to ask yourself whose claaa interests they’re being “pragmatic” about.

    Which is why I’ve dropped that term from my own vocabulary, and now prefer to call mainstream politicians by the slightly different name of “plutocratic centrists.” It has a nice ring to it, I think.

  323. Dear Isabel,

    If I may:

    Regarding confederate flags:

    Personally, I tend to think that the symbolism of folks up North flying Rebel flags is pretty clear: they are saying that they consider the United States Federal Government to be a hostile foreign power and they are signaling to their neighbors that they are willing to fight the government. Basically those flags signify, to my mind at least, grassroots insurrectionary sentiment.

  324. @Victoria, I really only hear about Forrest and Lee around town or on Facestalk – the latter usually only when they’re talking about taking his statue down or similar. Lee gets some regard as a tactician and/or Southern gentleman, or just as an outright traitor to those less sympathetic. I confess to knowing nothing about Stephens at all – that wonderful Knox County education showing its head there, I suppose. FWIW, I regard Sherman as a war criminal who happened to do one good thing, i.e. freed slaves. Most of my black friends understandably don’t take kindly to people displaying Confederate flags. Also to some extent there seems to be a conservative/liberal divide involved; I can basically guess someone’s attitude toward the flag around here by who they tend to vote for (Republican: flag cool, anything else: not cool).

    @Isabel, I’m mystified by that as well! If they want to display a symbol of rebellion, why not just fly the US flag, which country after all began with an act of rebellion…or just not display a flag at all?

  325. Cliff, that’s a fascinating hypothesis and, I think, a plausible one.

    Kevin, you’re quite correct, of course. The current situation is unprecedented only to those who know nothing about history and can’t be bothered to learn.

    Cliff, you have my sympathy. That would be grim.

    Isabel, whenever I’ve had the space and time to garden, that’s been my approach. Glad it’s helpful.

    J.L.Mc12, I think we can take that as a definite omen.

    Lew, I’m sorry to say I have no idea. Anyone else?

    Churrundo, your situation must be very different from mine; I’ve never joined a spiritual group and found it full of Nazis. On the other hand, I’ve had the repeated experience of joining spiritual groups and finding them full of angry leftists who love to scream “Nazi!” at other people. As for Wildermuth, I’m glad to say his attempt at launching a witch hunt failed, and after a while he went off on some other tangent.

    Tripp, oh, it wasn’t original to me. There’s a way of working with the I Ching, the Plum Blossom Oracle, where you don’t cast yarrow sticks or coins — instead, you get to know the hexagrams well enough that you recognize when the situation is expressing one of them, and then figure out which lines you need to change in order to turn it into a situation more to your liking. Given the additive nature of geomancy, I figured it would be worth trying something similar, and it works quite well in practice. The situation you’re in is coming to an end (Cauda Draconis)? Stay put (Carcer) and something will start moving again (Caput Draconis). If you move on (Via) you’ll just lose everything you’ve put into the existing situation (Tristitia), and so on.

    A. Karhumaa, Kandinsky is opaque to me; I’m familiar with his Theosophical background but his paintings? Meh. Roerich is a good deal more interesting, though my tastes are much closer to those of the Sâr Peladan! As for music, to my ear, Western art music fell stone cold dead with the opening bars of Wagner’s Tristan and we’re still waiting for an angel to roll away the stone in front of the tomb. I’m fine with good honest rock and roll and the like — they don’t pretend to be anything more than what they are — but the 20th century’s various attempts at “spiritual music” are to my ear simply irritating. That said, your mileage may vary, and I don’t pretend that my tastes are anything other than personal quirks.

    Admin, that wasn’t clear at all. What exactly are you trying to understand?

    Robert, I have no idea why Lewis crumpled. It was out of character — he was usually a ferocious and effective debater. You may be right, and he was just having an off day.

    Johnny, my exposure to punk was purely through having a girlfriend in college who was heavily into it, but what you describe sounds very familiar to me. During my encounters with it, at least, it was very much a closed in-group sort of thing.

    Erick, that’s entirely plausible. Most of the astrologers whose work I’ve studied hold that the planets don’t cause events on earth; the connection is better understood as correlation, or Jung’s concept of synchronicity. The fact that the signs and their effects remain anchored to the solar cycle — Aries is still Aries, and people born with the sun in that sign still have the same tendencies, even though the stars that filled that 30° wedge of the ecliptic in Babylonian times are no longer there — suggests that simplistic models of stars influencing events don’t work; and yet the system works tolerably well in practice. It could simply be a matter of finding cyclical patterns that seem to follow the same timescale as the planetary cycles.

    Steve, I haven’t tried that yet. I’m still working at getting good at ingresses and great conjunctions!

    Winston, according to occult philosophy, your astral body — the body of desires, emotions, imagination, and dreams — gradually attunes itself to whatever state of consciousness you favor in life. These correspond to different sub-planes of the astral plane, ranging from the uppermost sub-plane of creative imagination and love, down to the lowest sub-plane of unreasoning violent passions. Death is a complex process; first you shed your physical body, obviously, and then a short time after you shed your etheric body — the body of life energy — in what’s called the second death. At that point your consciousness and mental sheath are enclosed in your astral body, and it gravitates to whatever sub-plane on the astral corresponds to your habitual state of consciousness. If you spent the bulk of your life wallowing in unreasoning violent passions, well, that’s where you end up, and it’s not very pleasant. If you spent the bulk of your life oriented toward the upper astral sub-planes, that’s where you end up, and it’s a lot more pleasant.

    This is also a temporary condition. After a while — time is difficult to measure there, as it’s subjective time — you shed your astral body, and rise to the lower end of the mental plane. It’s from there that you begin the descent into incarnation again, gathering a new astral body out of the raw material of the astral plane, a new etheric body out of the raw material of the etheric plane, and a new physical body likewise (the latter two, of course, with the help of your future parents).

    The notions of heaven and hell found in mainstream religions are blurred and garbled versions of the astral plane encountered in the after-death state. The big differences, of course, are (1) where you end up isn’t a matter of punishment or reward, you simply gravitate to the level that corresponds to your overall state of consciousness; (2) it’s a temporary event, not a permanent destiny; and (3) you don’t get assigned to this or that state depending on whether you happened to belong to the right church, or prayed to the right god, or followed the right set of moral preachments.

  326. @Cliff (and JMG)

    I lived through the Nixon years as well as the Bush#2 years; your hypothesis feels right on target to me, based on my own memories of Democratic friends and their anxieties during those presidencies. You’ve got a profound insight there, IMHO!

    Obama struck me as so obviously a Chicago machine politician (with charisma) that I couldn’t wrap my head around the passions most of my friends felt, either for or against him, even in the early days of his campaign. “Hope” and “change,” my left foot!!! No machine politician ever …

    As for media, I’ve never been able to process melody very well. The lovely patterns, shifting like a kaleidoscope, displayed (for example) in Bach’s fuges work very well for me. So do the stories told in traditional ballads, or in grand operas. Otherwise, music just “does not compute” for me.

    Also, like you, the older I get, the harder it is to watch moving, talking screens that go on seemingly forever. (There are people who do that, too, in the real world, and I try to avoid them as well.)

    I haven’t watched TV since about 1985, or movies in a theater since about 1990. At this point, even being in the next room to a TV, when it’s turned on, is almost literal torture. (We don’t have one in our house.) This has nothing whatever to do with the content of any specific program. It’s a matter of how the light from the screen brightens and dims, and the sound rises and falls in volume. Even when I can’t see the pictures on the screens, or make out the words spoken, the rhythms of light and sound do me in. I can manage a not-too-long old movie on my computer, sort of. The rhythms of light and sound were much different in the ’50s and the ’60s from what they later became.

    So you’re not alone …

  327. JMG,

    That’s really interesting stuff, and I like the way you explained it with representational figures of which I have at least a basic grasp. It also provides further encouragement for persevering through the “staple crops” of meditation, which can sometimes feel like committing multiplication tables to memory…

    Re: your explanation of the dying process and interlife to Winston, this is also quite helpful to me on a really fundamental level. I find there is a fairly obscene amount of programming to overcome from my upbringing in the Baptist Church. I’m constantly worried about being punished — and potentially punished quite hard! — for doing ANYTHING wrong. Probably the main reason I ask so many questions. There’s a lot of guilt and self-loathing there that I hope to get beyond one of these days! I’m sure it’s not good for me.

    Anyway, thank you for your inexhaustible patience. Means the world to me.

  328. @JMG – Your answer to Winston is a very interesting brief narration on the journey between one life and another.

    You also state that your new parents contribute to the formation of your new etheric body from etheric raw material and your new physical body from physical body raw material, but reading this, I immediately wondered if it can also be said that your parents have any contribution to make towards the formation of your astral body from astral raw material, or if that body is definitively NOT a part of you that they have any influence on?

  329. Robert Gibson,

    In Miracles, Lewis refers to the debate with Anscombe, and he said something to the effect that her drawing a distinction between “irrational” and “non-rational” caught him off guard. A part of his argument at the time was that physical brain processes are irrational and thus they can’t give rise to rational thought. Anscombe argued that they were simply non-rational, neutral to reason, and thus his argument didn’t go through.

    Like Feser, I also think Lewis was conceding too much to the mechanists without realizing it. He accepted the notion that physical processes have no purpose except those an agent (either human or divine) ascribe to them is actually a fairly large concession (and one that sets up a honey-trap for theists, but that’s another discussion altogether). But if you don’t make that concession, Lewis’ argument doesn’t go through. You need a different argument (like the one Ross and Feser make) for the immaterial nature of reason.

    I think that’s part of why Anscombe was able to stymie him: he was arguing from within a blinkered worldview, and Anscombe reply actually doesn’t entirely make sense within that worldview, and implicitly challenges the worldview. So how do you argue with that?

  330. David by the Lake– re Civil War statues. A friend of mine has researched these statues and found that they were very much a commercial enterprise. A few factories manufactured them and sent salesmen to small towns all over the country equipped with the appropriate catalogs. Just as the huckster in Music Man convinced towns that they needed a band, the statue salesman would convince citizens that “this fair city needs a monument to its fallen heros.” Depending on how much money they were able to raise they could get a Confederate or Union solder standing at attention, standing with rifle raised, kneeling with rifle, mounted, etc. with the appropriate uniforms and insignia. Add a plinth and an inscription, strike up the band and let the mayor make a speech and there you go. Obviously, statues of specific individuals, such as the ones of Robert E. Lee were more like to be individual commissions rather than mass produced.


    After reading of some high school students in Michigan punished for rebel flag stickers on their cars, I figured an appropriate punishment would have been to force them to watch _They DIed With Their Boots On_ a truly awful film about Custer’s life starring Errol Flynn. This would be appropriate as it shows clearly that the Fighting Wolverines (7th Michigan) fought for the Union. But otherwise the film is soppy, sentimental and filled with historical inaccuracy. Hence–punishment.

  331. @Robert

    Well, there is certainly truth there in the sense of political correctness as putting tribe over intellectual standards. George Orwell meant his famous novels of the 1940s (Animal Farm, 1984) to be as much a satire of the British left of his own time as the Soviets. Of the lifelong opponents of the death penalty who were unapologetic enthusiasts for Stalin’s Great Purges of the mid-1930s. Of the pacifists who revered Russian militarism in WWII. Of the intellectuals who self-righteously freaked out at every Famine in British India as a sign of imperialist injustice but said nothing of Stalin’s more deliberate famine in the Ukraine. Of a BBC Broadcast in 1944 on the 25th Anniversary of the Red Army that never once mentioned the word “Trotsky”, the guy who founded the Red Army!!!

    These and other forms of proto-political correctness can be found here in what was originally intended to be the preface of Animal Farm:

  332. JMG,

    It is interesting that you mark Wagner’s Tristan as the end of Western classical music.

    I have always regarded the near-contemporaneous premières of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony and Richard Strauss’ Rosenkavalier as The Definitive End of the “creative” period of Western classical music.

    As you would say, we are now definitely in the “performance” mode of Western classical music. A good example would be John Williams’ blockbuster film scores, which could just as easily been written by Strauss, Mahler or Erich Korngold. All good and notable classical music written nowadays is a throwback to the late-19th and early-20th century masterpieces.

  333. Dear JMG and other astrologically-minded folks,

    I’m curious, do you know of any resources that indicate when various comets in the past became visible to the naked eye? I think it would be helpful to cast some charts to get a sense of what comets tend to synchronize with here on Earth, but I’ve found it very difficult to find this information for the precise details of sighting historical comets and so inquire if anyone has a book or website to point to!

  334. Thanks for the detailed explanation. Very interesting. Suppose someone were to spend the first 50 years of life favoring violent passions and then have a come to Jesus moment and eventually cultivate a loving state of consciousness most of the time. It sounds like at death that person would then gravitate towards the higher sub planes since the change would over time change the astral body. Is this correct? Or do our past states of consciousness persist somehow in the astral body? In other words, is redemption possible in a single life?

  335. If I may add comments on comfrey…

    Yes, I can tell you from personal experience applying it to an open wound is bad. It WILL heal the wound from the outside, leaving bad stuff trapped inside. However, regarding eating it an toxic alkaloids…

    An alpaca farmer I used to know had large beds of comfrey planted just outside the animals’ paddocks, where they could reach the leaves if they stretched, but couldn’t get far enough to dig up the plants. I asked her why these “poisonous” things were planted where the animals could eat them. She explained that the animals used them – after giving birth, one of the first things mama alpaca will do after cleaning up her young one is go munch on comfrey. It seems to help them heal.

    Years later, I planted some in my own garden, mostly as a curiosity, being still slightly afraid of the plant. Not long after was when I learned the hard way the bit about wounds. Fast forward to a few weeks ago – one of my cats picked up a mild sneezy thing, probably during a trip to the vet for an unrelated problem. The day after he started sneezing, I saw him sitting by one of the comfrey plants, deliberately eating the ends of the leaves. I wondered about this, having NEVER seen any of my cats eat comfrey. And he was definitely deliberately eating it, too, not just chewing or playing. And not interested in eating grass, which cats will do when they have a digestive disturbance. That evening, after I had gone to bed, I got a strong urge to look up comfrey, not in any modern books that have dire warnings about toxicity, but a couple of older herbals I had purchased for historical interest.

    I dunno, JMG, I’m sort of afraid to write what I found, lest I be accused of giving medical advice, but let’s say what I found was rather timely. (Names to look up are Grieve and Kloss). I asked the plant (yes I talk to plants) and it made me aware that it would prefer I didn’t dig up its roots, but I am welcome to nibble the leaf tips, and it has produced more than the usual number of these in the past week. They taste cucumber-ish, similar to, but not quite the same as, borage.

    And to the person above who commented on overuse of the word “unprecedented”. I have been quite sick of that word for some time. People seem to use it as a synonym for “really bad”. Makes me want to go all Inigo Montoya on them (the “you keep using that word…” part, not “prepare to die” though I have sometimes thought rather violent thoughts at the speaker)

  336. @Cliff
    March 27, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    Cliff, to riff on your theory a bit – I see the Dems as brittle because of learning disabilities that are due to the elections, at least since 2000, being very close.

    I liken it to a basketball game. When you get beat 127 to 39 you go home and work on -well, everything; shooting, passing, defense, etc. The loss doesn’t require an excuse, just acceptance. OTOH when you loose 101 to 99 you look for excuses; bad calls by the refs, calls that should have been made but weren’t, the ball wasn’t correctly inflated, russians hiding under the bleachers, etc. Any rationale for loosing can be accepted except one – you got beat fair and square. They can only accept their loss as being due to some flluke, cheating, moral deficiency of the voters, etc. Unable to learn, they keep repeating the same mistakes. They’ll remain brittle until they get trounced and have to examine themselves.

  337. Robert, I get the impression there’s much more diversity of perception out there than our culture seems to notice. You’ve mentioned before how melody doesn’t communicate much of anything to you; I’ve commented more than once that I’m the equivalent of tone-deaf when it comes to dance — with very few exceptions, watching people dance is, to me, like watching paint dry. Meanwhile there are other art forms to which I’m very susceptible, even more so than most people, and I’m sure the same is true of you. I wonder just how wide the diversity is…

    Tripp, you’re most welcome on both counts. No question, meditation can be one of the most boring activities in existence, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. If you have the chance to try that kind of geomantic strategy, let me know how it works. As for the whole festering mess that mainstream religion has made of ideas about the afterlife, I’ve long suspected that one of the core reasons Christianity is about to become a minority religion in the US, and has long since achieved that status in Europe, is precisely the way that the rhetoric of eternal damnation makes a mockery of the whole notion of a loving deity. Do you recall the bit in Orwell’s 1984 where O’Brien says, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever”? The mainstream Christian portrayal of God as Big Brother has a lot to answer for.

    Your Kittenship, good heavens, I had no idea he was still performing.

    Scotlyn, the influence of the parents on the astral body is complex, and difficult to tease out from the influence of other aspects of the environment of the unborn and newborn child. The soul descending into incarnation gathers the elements of its new astral body directly from the astral plane, based on those astral elements that resonate most closely with the soul’s condition and that of its mental sheath; it finds an appropriate mother and initial environment by a similar process of resonance, and makes contact with the developing fetus at the time of quickening; but thereafter, since the astral body is exquisitely sensitive to its surroundings, it will tend to be influenced by the mother’s astral body before birth, and by its immediate astral environment after birth.

    Michael, if you want to use those pieces as your markers, I won’t argue. I consider John Williams to be a very promising harbinger of the future of Western music, precisely because he knows the vocabulary of the music of the late Romantic era and uses it skillfully to produce exactly the kind of preludes 19th-century operas used to have. (If someone were to commission him to write the original Star Wars movie as an opera, nobody would be talking about opera as a moribund genre — it would be a colossal hit with the public.)

    Violet, hmm! That’s an interesting question, to which I don’t know the answer. You might see if you can find newspaper records of the appearances of the big 19th century comets.

    Winston, there’s a difference between the temporary after-death state on the astral and the overall trajectory of the soul. Can you change the resonance of your astral body so you have a more pleasant after-death experience? Of course you can. Does that mean that you don’t have to deal with whatever karma you’ve built up in that and previous lives? No, not at all. Mind you, reorienting your character toward the higher range of human potential has major karmic benefits, too; you become the kind of person who can learn from mistakes and grow out of bad habits, and you can also begin learning how to resolve karma through understanding rather than through suffering…but the karma still has to be worked out.

    Anonymous, the studies that insisted that comfrey is deadly poisonous due to those pyrrawhatchamacallit alkaloids were done by giving lab rats fantastically high doses of the purified alkaloids — the equivalent of eating many times their own body weight in comfrey every day. That’s standard practice when big pharma wants to attack herbal medicine. I’ve eaten comfrey leaves as boiled greens with rice and beans, and enjoyed the experience greatly — and yes, they’re good for a person. (As well as for livestock — the chickens and goats on the hippie farm where I lived for a while thrived on regular doses of comfrey.)

  338. “You keep using that word! Irregardless—prepare to die!” 😄

    JMG, when we can discuss the Untypable again, please announce same. I’ve been noticing things that just don’t add up and would like to run it by the Mighty Minds of Ecosophia, the ones who are so smart they even understand the Cosmic Doctrine.

  339. @ Rita, Violet, et al.

    Re civil war statues, traveling statue salesmen, and the hills o’ Dixie

    I have heard something similar. The Union soldier here in Two Rivers, WI went up at the 50-year mark, as did many (I believe) on “both sides.” I likewise have heard it was the same place manufacturing the statues, making the necessary changes (e.g., CSA on the belt buckle versus USA) as needed.

    More generally, down south there were Long Streets and similar veteran names on roads throughout neighborhoods. When I lived in VA, I attended Jefferson Davis Junior High School for a year before we moved again. And, of course, my alma mater, Clemson University, was once John C. Calhoun’s plantation. The plantation house (Fort Hill) still sits in the middle of campus and the library has (I’m assuming it’s still there) a massive standing portrait of the man at the entrance.

  340. John,
    You said you can’t stand dance but it is really my thing.
    I also like ballads and some surprising parts pf music but I cannot cope with anything I find discordant – music, art, movement or anything.
    I watch TV but it is not my thing either.
    We can’t all be the same and shouldn’t want to be.

  341. Anonymous,

    Our little herbal company’s flagship product is called Comfrey Cream, and obviously contains the dastardly stuff! But, for reasons you understand as well as anyone else, it also includes calendula, chamomile, and lavender, all super-heavyweight healing herbs and antibiotics. You could, (and should if you do so), cut yourself all the way through the bone and apply it as directly to any and all depths of the cut as you like. I’m going to take a bold line here and say that there is no product on Earth or above that will heal that wound more thoroughly, quickly, and completely than our salve. Inside and out. If I could give a tin to everyone here and convince them to use it, on damn near every skin, tissue, and bone injury they ever have, I would in a second. Even if I never saw a penny of profit from it.

    Do you know the story of Rosemary Gladstar, the famous herbalist who started Traditional Medicinals, shattering her leg? She refused to be pinned back together, very much against medical advice, and instead applied, and drank as tea, as much comfrey as she could stand, until she went back months later for an x-ray, and the image looked as if nothing had ever happened…

    Oh, and Maud Grieve is always a great resource!


  342. JMG, your answer to Wesley about the after-death state led me to the idea that, to a certain extent, people with certain conditions of their soul would tend to be reborn in certain countries. Different countries have different cultures, different amounts of internal problems and different material conditions, so it would make sense to assume that different countries and cultures tend to be suited to different kind of personalities, like, for example, extroverted, introverted, revengeful, peace-loving, and so on. Does that make sense? I know that a single culture or country consists in every case of persons of different character, but, as I understand it, it’s not exactly the same everywhere.

  343. JMG: I know you’ve mentioned before that your wife Sara has an autoimmune disorder. Out of curiosity, if you and she are comfortable talking about it, what if anything does she use to help manage that?

    On a different note, concerning Western classical music, I’ll agree with the comments on John Williams: I’m pretty sure I’ve made the comment elsewhere that I suspect the two twentieth-century musicians most likely to be remembered in a few decades are John Williams and Hans Zimmer. (Part of me also wonders about Yuki Kajiura out of Japan, though she’s more of a psuedomorphosis than a straight example. That’s no guarantee, especially given that anime soundtracks are still relatively niche, but she had a reputation even before she did the soundtrack for a certain anime I suspect will have relatively long cultural staying power for the medium.)

  344. @Wesley: I used ‘pragmatic centrist’ as shorthand. ‘Plutocratic centrist’ seems absolutely spot on (Obama certainly seemed to be governing for the sake of the Rachel Maddow set), but it’s not really in common usage yet.

  345. Your Kittenship, so noted. It may be a while — I’m far from the only one who’s feeling a great sense of relief not to have everyone talking about that all the time. (I could put an open post on the Unspeakable on Dreamwidth, though.)

    JillN, I know a lot of people who really love watching dance. I wish I could experience whatever it is that they get out of it!

    Booklover, that’s certainly possible, yes.

    Username, our main household health care resource is biochemic cell salts; Sara also takes some nutritional supplements to deal with the intestinal malabsorption syndrome that comes with her condition, and we eat a somewhat restricted diet to avoid foods that make her condition worse. As for John Williams et al., no argument there!

  346. Why, thank you, JMG! You’re a Druid and a gentleman. (Were you ever an officer and a gentleman? If so, what branch?)

  347. LunarApprentice, please respond to my email to let me know that your request for masks and gloves came from you. I will mail to you as soon as I know it was you who wrote to me. Thanks.

  348. JMG, you are gifted in ways that most of us here cannot even hope to emulate, possibly because you are not distracted by emotional cues. Regarding dance, it is a shame you can’t enjoy it–that is a drawback. But I will try to describe this for you, if you’ll forgive me. Probably the best dance I’ve ever seen is a middle aged guy in Indonesia who performs a traditional dance once a week. When that dance came out nearly a century ago, it was a sensation because it deliberately defied expectations in just about every imaginable way. It features a very masculine guy in feminine costume, who flounces in an exaggerated manner intended to be humorous in the midst of something serious, and plays a terompong, a gamelan instrument, together with the gamelan (when I Googled “terompong” to be sure of it, it pulled up three videos, including a minute-and-a-half snippet of him if anyone’s curious, though it really doesn’t do him or the gamelan any justice). What makes this particular dancer’s performance exceptional is his terrific control over and artistry with his facial expressions. He connects with the audience as well, and as your mirror neurons provide you the same emotion that he is expressing, he suddenly changes that in a completely illogical manner, e.g., from warm welcome to cold surprise. The overall effect is like a massage, calling up each of your emotions, and then dispelling them like magic.
    I don’t know if that helps give you an idea of it, but I thought I’d try.

  349. David by the Lake wrote, “For a long time, I’ve seen emotions like spices: without them life would be very bland indeed. However, like spices, they flavor existence, but are not of themselves (nutritive) substance.”

    Actually, the standard kitchen spices and herbs we all use are quite nutritive as well as medicinal. There’s all kinds of vitamins and minerals in most of them, as well as their providing stimulating, demulcent, diuretic, soporific, etc. effects. Black pepper, cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, mint, dill, caraway, rosemary, cinnamon and thyme are all very potent. Our ancestors used spices for much more than just flavoring.

    The first time I was given a bowl of chicken soup with a thick layer of green herbs covering the entire surface was in 1993 at Laughing Rabbit Herb Gardens. I expected it to taste overwhelmingly bad, but it was so delicious, that I have made chicken soup that way ever since. Herbs are just flavorful vegetables, and their flavors come from aromatic oils with all kinds of health benefits.

    An ample dosing of emotional experiences may have all kinds of health benefits as well. Certainly, when we skimp too much on experiencing emotions we can become numb or rigid. A thick layer of deeply felt emotions may seem overwhelmingly bad, but may turn out to be decidedly delicious!

  350. Petrus wrote, “I’d like to raise a homeopathic question — and a rather unconventional one…. It revolves around urine therapy.”

    My teacher and sponsor for my second year studying music and dance in Indonesia practiced drinking his own urine, much to my sheltered American surprise. I was processing way too much culture shock on way too many levels, as well as being too young at the time, to ask him about the unusual (to me) practice and its benefits. I now regret that I didn’t even find out how common urine therapy was in Indonesia or Java or Yogyakarta. Well, that makes at least one person in Indonesia who practices taking the piss out of him. Oy vey, what a terrible joke.

    He regularly went back and forth to Jakarta, being a film and TV performer. Perhaps urine therapy was all the rage among the wealthy of the capital, or in the film and video world, or among the cross-dressing comedians? Or perhaps he picked up the habit while performing in India, and was the only person in the archipelago practicing it? I rather doubt that, as there are all sorts of strange and interesting health practices on the various islands of Indonesia, some quite effective, while others are just shysters exploiting local superstitions. Uh-oh, now I’m getting nostalgic and want to go back.

  351. Re John Williams, I am also of the opinion that he is the greatest American composer, and that he earned that distinction by working solidly within the mature tradition of Romantic music.

    I composed music as a teenager – I still do, but less often – and I am quite sure that if I had made a career out of it I would have ended up like the heroine in the Shogoth Concerto, except that my style is late classical rather than baroque.

    Anyone who listens to my music can tell that Beethoven is my favorite composer. And when I have that tradition to work within, why would I even want to innovate away from it?

    I recall our host saying once that Beethoven’s Symphonies are a part of our culture that’s unlikely to survive the Long Descent as a living tradition. I suppose that might be true – it would depend a lot on whether or not only the US, but also eastern Europe, Russia, Japan and every other country where they’re popular loses the ability to muster a hundred-piece orchestra.

    I think a good solution might be to make a several volumes of stainless steel plates with the scores of the western classical reportoire engraved on them – not only symphonies, but also piano sonatas, string quartets, etc, in the hopes that the plates will end up in the hands of small musical ensembles. Then, even if the musicians can only play the smaller works for several centuries, they will still guard and pass down the plates in the expectation of eventually reviving the symphonies during the Ecotechnic Renaissance.

  352. @ James M Jensen II –

    Please accept that my intellectual processes work very slowly, and it can take me quite awhile to work my way all around an idea, but you said this (as best I can understand it), and it intrigued me, and I’d be interested in you saying a bit more about it, if possible in somewhat less abstract terms…

    “He accepted the notion that physical processes have no purpose except those an agent (either human or divine) ascribe to them…”

    My personal view on this (at the present moment) is that physical processes ARE acts of agents (although some of the agents “in action” may exist at scales either too large or conversely at scales to small for us to be able to detect and/or communicate with their “inner” knowing, choosing, acting selves).

    I’m guessing that where I might differ from C. S. Lewis (I said “I’m guessing”) is that he might see “agency” ascribing “purpose” as having a single source which he would name God, whereas I would see “agencies” ascribing “purposes” to multiple sources “at play” with one another (in the Cos Doc sense, perhaps?) co-creating visible/tangible/detectable physical processes and entities both at cross-purposes with each other, and in collaboration with each other, and often in complete ignorance of one another, especially the “one anothers” existing at different scalar levels.

    Does this make sense? Would you elaborate on your own sense of what physical processes should be ascribed to?

    Thanks very much. I always enjoy your philosophical offerings, though I do not always follow them fully.

  353. Hey John,

    James from Hermitix here. Was recently attempting to map Occultists to philosophers, as a way to combine or compliment co-existing philosophies/spiritualities, I wonder what your thoughts on this are thus far:

    Aleister Crowley – Arthur Schopenhauer (or Nietzsche)

    George Gurdjieff – Gilles Deleuze

    Franz Bardon – Martin Heidegger

    John Michael Greer – Michel Serres (especially with regard to *The Natural Contract* and *Biogee*

    Eliphas Levi – Immanuel Kant

    Dion Fortune – Emmanuel Levinas

  354. Robert Mathiesen – Re: psychedelic mushrooms. I was in high school when I read a scholarly account tracing trade in mushrooms (from southern Europe) into Scandinavia. (I’ve forgotten what they sent south; maybe reindeer jerky?) The northern people used mushrooms for entertainment through the long, dark winter nights, and somehow discovered, not that urine concentrated the active elements, but just that enough active elements passed through their bodies un-metabolized that it was worth the effort to give it another chance (so to speak).
    Note that the mushrooms DIDN’T grow where they were used, but were items of long-distance prehistoric trade.

    This paper greatly increased my curiosity regarding, not mushrooms, but professional scientific literature. Even if I ran into many unfamiliar words, the overall tale was fascinating (me being of Scandinavian ancestry).

  355. JMG, I think the thing with different souls and different cultures makes sense, but the matter is probably a bit more complex than that. That said, I have a wholly different question this time: Is it more environmentally friendly to use matches or to use a gas lighter when lighting candles, a gas oven, or the like?

  356. Regarding diversity of perception: I have an online friend who plausibly claims to be utterly indifferent to poetry. In his view, text either conveys meaningful information or not. If the meaning of a passage is clear, then what’s the point of rhyming or breaking it into verses or using funny punctuation? And if it’s not clear, why write it at all? He also claims to be unable to visualize anything he’s not actually viewing. Not scenes, not colors, not figures or shapes. I suppose he wouldn’t be very good at ceremonial magic.

    But my main point is, none of that came up in our first ten years of online correspondence. His conversation is intelligent but otherwise completely conventional. In real life he’s a sociable gay man, neither reclusive nor notably promiscuous. So it’s quite plausible to me that there’s a lot more diversity of perception than we’re usually aware of or have any reason to be aware of.

  357. Erick – Rational Astrology? Here’s my naive, rationalist take on it, for your consideration: As for the sun-sign astrology as in the popular newspaper advice columns, I think it’s plausible that there are differences in mental and physical development that correlate to the development of a child, before and for a few years after birth. Until recently, we had seasons of hunger and seasons of plenty, seasons of confinement to shelter and seasons of exploring the neighborhood. These conditions influence the life-long attitudes toward greed/fear, optimism/pessimism, group/individual tendencies, as reflected in the “what’s your sign?” perspective. The astronomical features were simply a way of defining the seasons.

    For the more serious kind of astrology that JMG’s been doing lately, I think of the shifting planetary configuration as a scaffold for directing the astrologer’s attention from one topic to another in a deliberate, orderly fashion. In doing so, his (or her) subconscious knowledge of history and current affairs has time to emerge as a coherent story about the future. To make meaningful predictions, the astrologer must be aware of the current context, and with such awareness, the actual positions of the planets may not actually make much difference. By attributing predictions to the starts, the astrologer can deflect his own interests and ego (or something like that).

    The conventional scientific dismissal of astrology: “there is no way that stars and planets can influence human behavior at such great distances, therefore astrology is all nonsense” seems absurdly narrow-minded to me. It’s as if we claimed “people born in the 1950s” tend to have some psychological differences from “people born in the 1980s”, and they dismissed it with “what difference could a 1.5% difference in the number of years since the death of a Palestinian rabbi (Jesus) possibly have on modern people?” It’s not the elapsed time that matters, even though that’s how we tag the events; it’s the calendar. (Or, it’s like singing your way through the alphabet while washing your hands. The words of the song don’t matter, but the time spent going through them gives the soap time to work, and if you don’t sing the song, you’ll probably either quit too soon, or just keep going and going, obsessively.)

  358. All, Re: 5G — I heard an interview with the head of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), who mentioned that companies which bought the rights to use radio spectrum for 5G have a legal obligation to deploy the equipment, or they will be fined (or perhaps their right to use will be revoked, and auctioned off to someone else). Radio spectrum is a potentially valuable resource, and once it’s assigned to any particular company, they have exclusive rights to use it for their business. A mobile phone company without spectrum is like an airline without access to (at least two) airports. So, it seems to me that even if 5G doesn’t work out to be the bright, shiny wonder that we’ve been promised, the owners of the spectrum may be in a life-or-death struggle to keep it out of the hands of their competition. Keep that in mind when your hear their pitches.

  359. The garden report from mid-Maryland: tomato seeds that were at least ten years old (and maybe 20) have germinated well, indoors. Onion seeds saved from last summer have also sprouted, about a week after sowing. I saved some plastic boxes in which salad greens were sold to make high-humidity sprouting chambers. Watered once, then snapped on the lids, and kept them at about 68F (near my home furnace, which is a little warmer than the rest of the house. That’s the soil temperature, by the way, which would be lower if the water were allowed to evaporate from the surface.) Brussels sprouts that were protected through the winter never produced a harvest and are now going to seed; I guess I planted too late, they didn’t get enough sun, or something kept them from producing last fall. Red Siberian kale has been productive through the winter, but is also about to flower. I’ll get some seed from them, and so will the goldfinches. Carrots sown outside about 2 wks ago are emerging. Tulip buds are about to pop, and azalea and pear buds are showing color.

  360. I’m reading this book. It’s another way to understanding why the US “elites” act and think the way they do. The Meritocracy Trap: How America’s Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite by Daniel Markovits.

  361. Curt,

    I sympathize with your question and have struggled with it. I do think, as JMG pointed out, that despite the horrors that get recorded, there are many obscure lives lived that don’t.
    Another thing that helps is when you begin to realize, as that Mephistopheles lets on, we are in hell. You might wonder how that can possibly help but if you don’t even know your true situation you will have delusional ideas. Knowing our situation, we can then think, how to escape? Escape is probably not possible but release should be possible. Thus good deeds, good thoughts and the avoision of bad karma. Evil is addictive. Break the cycle.
    What is salvation? It is having one’s sentence ended. What is the value of faith? It is the ability to have faith in the process. This too shall end. And the more you have faith in the process the more you can actually enjoy this life.
    There is much to enjoy because in this hell, at least, we can rise even to paradise. I have read accounts of prisons that were truly wretched (and I mean in America) with extreme heat, extreme cold, cockroaches crawling all over one, rats, solitary confinement and the constant need to be in fear of predatory others. On the other hand, I knew someone who went to a low security prison, up in the high sierra mountains, no fences, used as firefighters when needed and fed steak. Became really good at chess.
    Have faith. We are all here because we need to be here. Learn your lessons and trust the process.

  362. Dear Mr Archdruid. James Howard Kunstler gave you a nice compliment on the “Living in the Long Emergency” podcast April 25. Unfortunately on a couple of sites I peruse like Ian Welsh and Naked Capitalism they thought you were too pro Trump therefore you must be banished, regardless of whether your insights are valid or not.

    My question is how do you separate the ideas and information from the person providing the information?

    Personally I think we would get better politics if people would actually engage each other instead of hiding in their echo chambers.

  363. Petrus,

    I had tried urine therapy a fair bit some years ago. I don’t do it these days because I take so many drugs and supplements, I’m not sure its the right thing to do. Also, when taking amanita mushrooms, one is supposed to do so to maintain the high. Knowing what I do now about melatonin, I wonder if a morning habit might be helpful for youthfulness. Melatonin is an anti-aging hormone.
    The only powerful anecdote I have is that I cured my dog, very definitely and suddenly, of a prolonged tick borne illness. She did require a couple of boosters at two weeks out or so to cement the gains. Complete cure. Sudden improvement noticed within 5 minutes. Totally normal next morning after lingering illness of 3 or 4 months.
    And the funny thing? She drank with an eagerness as if it were a piece of steak the first time, and was moderately interested for the booster, and then had no further interest.

  364. re: confederate flag,

    Isabelle and other commentators would, I suppose, be shocked to see the stars-and-bars flying next to the maple leaf, but yes! It happens. It’s used as a symbol of identity for rural folks; more and more, these days. It’s a defiant symbol, shorthand for something like “I hunt, fish, own guns, drive a big truck and work for a living. If you lilly-livered cityots don’t like it, I’ll spit in your eye.” I suppose they’d be better served by the “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden flag, but the Gadsden flag doesn’t send the self-appointed “good people” into hysterics nearly as readily, so the stars-and-bars it is. (Ticking off the ‘good people’ is a feature, not a bug). It has nothing to do with the civil war the country south of here fought, and even less to do with slavery or racial attitudes. Heck, I’m sure I’ve seen at least 1 black dude with the stars and bars on his truck — unless you’re so racist to assume he stole it! (“In which case you need to check your privilege and do a self-crit, if you want to stay one of the ‘good people’,” he says with tongue firmly in cheek.)

    @ James Swanson,
    The stars-and-stripes might have originated in rebellion, but since it is now the flag of Empire it doesn’t smell of rebels any more. (OTH, I hear the original Betsy Ross flag has been called a hate symbol, so maybe you’re on to something! If it catches on that that rag can send the ‘good people’ into hysterics, you might see it waving alongside the stars and bars in a fine show of irony.)

    @ Sara Duncan,

    Paying attention to ergonomics and not ignoring pain applies to overeducated office drones, too. I’m one of about a third of people I work with with permanent nerve damage. (Usually found in the neck, wrists and upper spine, but let’s not forget sciatica!) Spread roughly evenly along genders, for whatever that’s worth.

    Our main employers of tradespeople around these parts are industries that were traditionally very dangerous (mining and forestry) and so have adopted really strong cultures of health-and-safety. It makes a huge difference when you know your bo-bo is going to shut down the whole operation. Those guys play it safe, and live to a healthier old age than I’m going to get.

  365. JMG wrote:

    “Robert, I get the impression there’s much more diversity of perception out there than our culture seems to notice. … I wonder just how wide the diversity is…”

    I agree entirely, and wonder the same thing. It can’t be as simple as having working mirror neurons or not: I have them, and mine work well. Yet dance, too, leave me cold. Close crowds of people, as in a mall or a theater, soon start feeling almost “unclean” or “squicky,” and it’s much worse when the people in such a crowd are all in some sort of harmony with one another, or they share an ideology or an egregoire. Then I soon get to feeling quite literally ill! (So all the current social isolation suits me just fine; I have been enegized by it.)

    There must be a lot of unexplored territory here for philosophers and occultists and neurologists and psychologists to investigate someday.

  366. “On the other hand, I’ve had the repeated experience of joining spiritual groups and finding them full of angry leftists who love to scream “Nazi!” at other people.”

    Why is this such a common thing among “spiritual” people? I had a brief argument with a Neopagan author (published by Llewellyn) on fb. She posted about the virtues of cracking down on free speech (using lots of euphemisms of course) and I disagreed. I then got the response that free speech was the hallmark of Nazis and therefore I was in favour of genocide. This person is otherwise sane; why is free speech so triggering for these ‘spiritual’ SJWs?

  367. Dear David,

    Hmmm, I guess for all my years in the South I remain a staunch Northerner at heart! I disagree that the Civil War was only offensive regarding the Union side. Certainly portions were offensive, even large portions, even the vast majority, but the basic conflict over forts seems to me defensive. That is, the Union defended the forts and other military installations in the rebelling states. And so I think that both were defending something, as absurd as that is.

    As for the separate identity, yes, I can only agree. It really is a time bomb, and indeed, there are multiple time bombs: first there is the separate White Southern identity that looks to the Lost Cause and the indigestible reality of defeat and subjugation, something that the American mentality really fails to cope with. Then there is the Black Southern identity which looks towards the Antebellum past….rather differently. If there were a Confederacy 2.0 I would imagine a flaming race war within a matter of hours guttering out over the years into Dixie being an intractable failed state, or, perhaps, it would end up partitioned into Dixie and the Republic of New Afrika ( I guess it really depends on what hostile foreign powers might consider to be their interests as they find a fertile ground for a little of the old “divide and conquer”. There’s still quite a bit of oil in Old Dixie, after all, which I can only imagine that foreign powers might like to get their hands on ( Notice how closely the Republic of New Afrika map and the Oil Refinery map overlap. I can only imagine things would get hot indeed and so I hope that a domestic insurgency in the South never occurs: I don’t think people would very much whither it leads…

    As much as I love the cooking, the polite manners, the wondrous glory of springtime and the sultry heat of the South, there are times that I’m more than a little glad to be in New England.

  368. Prizm,

    Thank you for the link to the article! It matches my observations quite well….


    As soon as there are bookstores or libraries open again, I’ll see if I can find a copy of that, it looks fascinating. I think emotional intelligence is stunted as well, which makes a lot of sense: it’s also a function of the brain, and so it would also be affected if the brain is altered….


    I’ve spoken with a few tradespeople, and what I’ve heard is that there are shortcuts a lot of people use, which save time and money, but are harder on the body. There’s that trade-off, but a lot of people have gotten used to doing fast and cheap, and so hurt themselves that way. If you take your time and work carefully, the job isn’t as hard as other trades. If I’m missing something, I’d love to hear it!

  369. Regarding the confederate flag – most of the people that fly that imo (and I went to high school with a lot of them, and have lived most of my life in rural appalachia) are more concerned with projecting a certain “redneck” identity than either hating black folks or being actually insurrectionist. Most of them are very pro USA from what I’ve seen.

  370. Violet,

    My comment about the War of Northern Aggression was mostly tongue-in-cheek, but there are plenty of folks in the Deep South who still refer to it as such, and to “Yankee social engineering.”

    I’m obviously not as erudite on the subject as you are, so I’ll confine my opinions to just a couple more points:

    1) Southern blacks and Northern blacks are probably more dissimilar than Southern blacks and Southern whites are. Though my wife lost a long-time Northern black friend for suggesting such a thing.

    2) New Orleans, and perhaps the rest of Louisiana as well, is emphatically NOT Southern in any real sense of the word. They are an extremely liberal annex of New France. Although the term “Dixie” originated there!

    Maybe I’ll be better prepared to volley next time the subject comes up! Cheers.

  371. Walt F: I had a lot of trouble with poetry, just like your on-line friend, for much the same reason. Then one of my favorite filkers, Leslie Fish, put out a couple of albums with Rudyard Kipling’s poems set to music, and I was hooked. In fact, I went back and reread them and yes, I finally got it.

    Poetry is NOT, repeat NOT a visual art, but an aural one. You hear it in your mind’s ear, rhythm, beat, meter, or you don’t get what it’s intended to do. Like reading plays in book rather than seeing them acted on the stage. One of my favorite DVDs is a movie of Midsummer Night’s Dream, set in Italy circa 1900, soundtrack by Mendelssohn. Though I’d have dearly loved to see Puck cast as a mischievous boy! Which I think Shakespeare intended anyway.

  372. Onething – when you say a morning habit is good for us old folks, I (as found out this morning ) need to qualify that for local weather. This morning started foggy, between a yesterday’s high of 91 and low of 57 and Florida humidity. The sun was barely visible through the clouds when I got back from my walk, though I greeted it properly. Felt sluggish and a little down until I got out in the very late morning, when the sun was fully out, for a second walk. Which of course proves what you were saying!

  373. Scotlyn,

    Suppose it turned out you were wrong and most things weren’t the result of agency. Would that mean those things didn’t have purposes to which they were directed? For example, would DNA still have the goal of replicating itself, or would that just be an illusion?

    Feser wouldn’t count DNA as having agency, but he would count it as having intrinsic purposes. Same with everything (at least, every natural object), all the way down to the fundamental particles of matter: the purpose of a magneton is to convey the electromagnetic force between atoms. And he would say that this would all be true even if he were wrong about God being the creator of everything.

    I don’t agree with Feser on everything; he’s a Christian rationalist and I’m neither. But I think he’s right that for something to have a purpose doesn’t require it be put there by somebody.

  374. Bridge,

    The word “spiritual” has a connotation of “morally superior” in our culture. And affirming your superiority by accusing others of being the worst thing you can think of is a tactic with a long pedigree. I imagine there were several friendships in ancient Rome that broke up when one friend refused to agree that Christians were incestuous cannibals just because the other said so.

  375. Your Kittenship, you’re most welcome; you’ll find the open post here. As for officership, well, in a certain very limited sense; I was for some years an active member of the uniformed branch of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and rose to the notional rank of Colonel in that body. I’m not in the picture below, but I wore the black uniform:

    Christophe (if I may), you need to check your spam filter. I’ve emailed you twice on his behalf.

    Patricia, oh, I know in the abstract what’s supposed to happen. For me, it just doesn’t.

    Wesley, the scores would be better than nothing, but when the living tradition has gone extinct, all reconstruction becomes conjectural. Conrad Beissel, a German mystic who organized a commune in colonial Pennsylvania a little after Johannes Kelpius’ time, had his own system of choral harmony and trained the members of his commune to sing that way; contemporary accounts say that it was stunningly beautiful; scores of his hymns survive, but nobody knows how it sounded, because too much of performance isn’t included in the score. Beethoven’s scores face the same fate — unless somebody somewhere preserves the technique of classical music, it’ll be all a matter of tentative attempts at reconstructing something lost from the dry bones.

    Metanomad, I’d pair Levi with Schopenhauer, because I’m quite sure Levi drew important elements of his thinking from Schopenhauer’s work — The World as Will and Imagination could be the title of Levi’s writings, and it’s not a bad translation of Schopenhauer’s title, either. I haven’t read Deleuze, Heidegger, Serres, or Levinas — I normally study one philosopher at a time, and I’m still processing Sartre — so can’t comment intelligently on them. As for Crowley and Nietzsche, dear gods, no — Crowley and Hegel, rather, since both men were intellectual poseurs. Nietzsche, for all his problems, was a much more serious thinker, and not (as Hegel and Crowley were) obsessive about seeking admiration and surrounding themselves with followers.

    Booklover, matches use fewer nonrenewable resources and don’t have anything like the energy cost for manufacture, so they’re the better choice.

    Walt, fascinating. Thanks for this.

    Marlena, interesting. I’ll see if the libraries have a copy — well, once they’re open again.

    A1, Jim and I go back quite a few years now — his first peak oil book, The Long Emergency, was one of the things that showed me it was possible to talk about resource depletion again, and led directly to the start of my blogging career. I’m not surprised that Naked Capitalism et al. have declared me a nonperson, though it’s funny to see people who used to denounce globalist neoliberalism at the top of their lungs busy denouncing the first American politician in our lifetimes who’s set out to dismantle it. As for how to get past personalities to issues, well, first of all, you have to admit that the issues are actually issues; the fixation on shrieking “Orange Man Bad!” is simply a way not to talk about the deliberate destruction of the US working class over the 40 years that ended in 2016, the ways that the middle classes encouraged, participated in, and profited from that act of destruction, and the extent to which blowback from that act made Donald Trump or someone like him inevitable.

    Robert, that seems very likely indeed.

    Bridge, because alternative spirituality is mostly a middle class phenomenon, and so people in alternative-spirituality circles reliably defend their own class privilege and the economic and political interests of their class.

  376. @Dusk Shine, that makes sense. As for Canadians flying the Confederate flag, that weirds me out even more than New Englanders doing it; though I’m well aware that Canadian rednecks are a thing – I’ve seen The Red Green Show after all. 😉

  377. Thanks, JMG, for the clarification! Gas lighters do look as if they were more environmentally friendly, becuase one doesn’t throw away a gas lighter every time it has been used; but obviously, sometimes things are more complex. I’ll keep that in mind for the future!

  378. @ Christophe

    Re the spice of emotion and nutritive content

    A fair point! I didn’t say that my view was accurate, as it indeed is not. Yet another of those old stories that needs revising.

    @ Violet

    Re offensive and defensive war

    By my comment, I was making the observation purely in the strategic sense. In order to win, the Federals had to defeat the Confederacy, whereas the Confederacy merely had to survive. That’s what I meant by the fact that, technically speaking, only the Confederacy was actually fighting a defensive war. If no one invades anybody, the Confederacy wins. This is analogous on a strategic level to the goals and parameters of the British and the colonies during the American Revolution. There were other factors as well. In the first instance, the revolutionaries received foreign aid (French) and prevailed. In the second instance, the revolutionaries failed to obtain foreign aid (British) and were defeated.

    Today, it is a complex and multi-layered relationship with the past, I certainly agree. That said, I do miss the food, the archways of Spanish moss, the relaxed pace, the languid accents, and other aspects of Southern life periodically. Still, I also like the shores of Lake Michigan and the rural character of the Midwest, too. That’s what memory is for, I suppose!

  379. @ Violet

    Re further thoughts on Dixie

    A revived Dixie would have to come to terms with its past in order to survive as a viable state, yes. I don’t think that such a thing to be impossible, particularly if there were enough disdain for a common “other”. It would not have to result in the racial conflict everyone presumes.

    That all said, and again on a personal note, I must say that I do *not* miss the summer heat of the Lowcountry in August and I very much appreciate the 75 degree summers here in Two Rivers. It’s all about trade-offs, in many ways! Perhaps I can make up some corn-fritters or something and sit on my porch during a rainstorm while sipping tea. Works here too. (Just not in April, cuz it’s too darn cold yet.)

  380. I’m at home with my family, and I will freely admit I spent the first few days a little bored, I’ve found plenty to do; I’m practising music, working out, writing, and doing a fair amount of studying as I work my way through the Dolmen Arch course.

    My family though, is still at the bored phase. The TVs are on constantly from when someone wakes up, until the last person finally goes to bed. It’s annoying, but they have nothing better to do. It’s fascinating to watch, but it’s also quite sad. Unfortunately for me, it’s lead to me getting a massive amount of media exposure,

    One of the weirdest things to happen is that my parents have gotten bored with their shows, and to mix it up tuned to Fox News. These are obsessive CNN watchers, and they immediately tore Fox News apart, catching all the propagandistic elements of it. What’s fascinating is that they never saw the same thing with CNN, when the techniques used are basically the same.

    One of the big ones they caught is that “This is not propaganda, and the other networks are!”. What I suddenly saw is there’s something similar in advertising: there’s a huge amount of effort being used to convince people that they are immune to it. Of course, people who think they are immune to it won’t seek to limit it; thus, the two most important messages of advertising are “Tune in next week!” and “You are immune to advertising. It affects other people, but not you!”

    Both of these serve to maximize the amount of exposure to ads, and this seems to be the ultimate goal of advertisers: even more than selling products, they seek to control our attention and minds. This is another very good reason to avoid them!

  381. @JMG – thank you – much to chew upon.

    @ James M Jensen II – Of course, I expect I AM wrong about most things… but I still muddle along trying to make ideas and experience co-alesce in some coherent way. 🙂

    I have no idea who Feser is. If I understand you correctly, you seem to think “intrinsic purpose” is a thing, that can be separated from agency.

    On the face of it, this notion comes across (to me) as an absurdity. As if one could point to an “intrinsic stomachace” or an “intrinsic guilt” that had separate existence from the person/agent experiencing the stomachache or the guilt. Purpose seems to me to be of that nature. Something that only makes sense in connection with an experiencing, and intending, agent.

    PS – in relation to DNA, there is the Lynn Margulis view/ Which is that DNA has no agency, no purpose separate from the organism. You can do anything you want to DNA, she says, it will do nothing to stop you or defend itself. There is also the James A Shapiro view (building on the prior work of Barbara McClintock). Which is that the genome can “act” (although only within a living cell). It can heal itself, it can both “read” and “write” itself, it can turn up or down the pace of mutation, and it can take many other actions one might (he never commits himself here) ascribe to an agent. Presumably there are many other possible views that are consistent with the evidence.

    Anyway, thanks a million for your thoughtful reply. As always, much to chew on.

  382. Re comfrey – thanks to alll who have posted on this. I just want to say that the comfrey plants in my garden are mong those that I have personally found to be “allies”.

    I have always borne in mind the advice never to use it on a wound, or where skin is broken. But with that said, I have found it incredibly useful as a poultice for broken bones, tendonitis and other similar occurences.

    For myself, when I broke a rib falling off my bicycle, I was told to expect at least six weeks of pain, especially when coughing or sneezing. I started to apply comfrey poultices on the 5th day (first day home from hospital) and by the 10th day was able to completely stop using the pain killers prescribed by the hospital – as the pain was already reduced by around 90%. By the fourteenth day I was back at work. And I could tolerate coughing or sneezing, which had been like being tortured the week before.

    I do believe comfrey is exactly what its common name calls it – knitbone. Do not try to use it to knit a wound, but do not hesitate to use it when bones are broken, tendons are sprained or other deep tissues need healing.

  383. @JMG,

    In my “scores on steel plates” plan, preserving classical music as a living tradition is the goal. The idea is that small musical groups – string quartets and such – will always exist, they’ll pass down the plates from generation to generation, and then when they have the resources, they can revive the orchestral works. Obviously it will take a lot of work to do that, and the result won’t sound quite the same as the original. Still, the possibility of Beethoven’s quartets surviving but his symphonies being lost because nobody bothered to copy the scores during the dark age seems like something to be avoided at all costs.

    This may sound like the plan of a Mormon who just read “A Canticle of Liebowitz,” which it is, but I still think it’s something well worth doing while the technology for cheap laser engraving still exists.

  384. Robert, Walt, JMG,

    You might be interested in looking up aphantasia, which labels (in part) how Walt’s friend sees the world. The most amusing aspect I have noticed is other peoples inability to even conceive that it is possible – there is an amusing post here) that describes some of the push-back, and also part of the disconnect to various societal norms.

    I long ago understood that my perception was not like others, but it wasn’t until I came across the term a few years ago that I found useful ways to talk about it. Since then I’ve done a lot more contemplation and realised that that individual modes of perception vary enormously, and that aphantasia is just a label for a small part of a very wide spectrum.

  385. JMG et al

    I feel a bit late to the conversation but I have seen a fair bit of physical culture questions pop up.

    I have had good results with Convict Conditioning. All body weight exercises with options for any ability level. All you will need to get eventually is a pull up bar. I think I am on my 4th copy of the book because they never seem to come back when I loan it out.

    Or if you want to do something a bit different you can try this.

    Guy basically reinvented Indian Mace training. But that is another rabbit hole.

    Other Dave

  386. @Onething (if I may), I love your advice to Curt. I also note the lotus symbol in Buddhism, of breaking through the muddy morass of sordid illusions to rise above it and find a floating paradise that makes the whole journey worthwhile. Buddhsm attracts people who find that life is hell and like Christianity, gives them hope of Heaven.

  387. Booklover, as a general rule, the more complex a technology is, the higher its environmental costs. If you keep that in mind you’ll be right far more often than not.

    Kevin, dead on target.

    Aidan, good heavens — that’s a stunningly clear and thoughtful piece. I bet it vanishes without a trace, though, as most privileged white “antiracists” are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve racial justice, so long as they don’t have to give up any of their privileges or change their own behavior in the slightest…

    Wesley, if that’s what your heart says you should do, do it. Make it happen if you have to engrave the plates yourself. The only thing that matters in an age of decline is who has enough of a passion to do what can be done.

    Daniel, I’ve encountered it — teaching a system of magic that relies on visualization a great deal is a good way to learn a lot about variations in the ability to visualize. Another difference worth looking for is between aphantasics who can imagine in other senses — who can imagine feeling a shape that’s not there, for example, but can’t see it — and those for whom the constructive imagination is completely absent.

    Other Dave, thanks for this! I’ve never tried CC but I know people who swear by it, and most of them are seriously ripped. 😉

  388. Thanks to those who felt some inclination to respond to my question. However, going forward, I guess I will have to make the particular angle I am pursuing even more pointed, and that is:

    Can anyone offer any convincing position on why the use of urine to produce one’s own custom homeopathic remedy, one which might resolve any number of health issues one already has, should have the best possible reason for success, or at least an attempted trial?

    I was not looking for responses that necessarily come from direct experience, but I was hoping that at least someone in this community who is well-versed in the practice or else has a nuanced understanding of how homeopathy works, would be able to reference some aspects of the homeopathic methodology or approach to shed some light on the question… of why yes, or why no, or why maybe…

    Frankly, I’m a little disappointed so far, but not that surprised. I am aware that I am asking a question at a time when the personal wills of many are probably absorbed by the pressing events we’re now in the midst of. And so, this will be my last comment, unless I am called to respond to another comment.

  389. Well, Musa Al-Gharbi is one of the most insightful contemporary sociologists I’m aware of (and one of my favourites). For the inhabitants of the dysfunctional, cosmopolitan cities Al-Gharbi describes (and that Spengler prophesized) the main force of cohesion is mutual resentment and paranoia of provincial (largely white) citizens.

    It’s the KKKrazy Glue that keeps megacity inhabitants from turning their knives on each other!

  390. @ JMG, ChristineS, isabelcooper, Christophe (& anyone else I might have missed)

    Re my ideal logical tantrum and unraveling neuroses

    Something that came up for me in these past few days of meditation, in the aftermath of this week’s initial discussions, was that my long-time attraction (from late childhood) to the ideal of the Platonic World of Forms, with its static perfection, was quite likely a consequence of (or at least, contributed to by) an unspoken craving for stability as a result of the constant disruption of military life experienced when I was young. Similarly, the Quest For (Objective) Truth which has long been a part of my life is likely of kindred origin. We never remained in a place for long and moved about every two years, sometimes after only one.

    That was a long time ago, but I can see how it ingrained some deep patterns. A fascinating perspective, in any event, which lows me to see things a bit differently.

  391. JMG,

    Rubeus turned up in the 6th this morning, and I thought I’d give your strategy a shot. With my issues I figured Amissio would be about as good as I could hope for there, so I did the math and came up with Cauda D. Now what situation do I need to bring closure to, I wonder?

    Turns out I got stung between the fingers by a red paper wasp while I was hanging out laundry early this afternoon…lol.

    But I assure you I’ll try again! 😆

  392. And one more while I’m on a roll…

    My next-door neighbor is a big soft jazz fan and likes to play it loud enough to hear over their constant yard work.

    After sitting in the garden communing with my new veggies as long as I could stand, I went out on the front porch where my wife was having a glass of wine before dinner, and said, “honey, I’m worried about the little broccolis.”

    “What’s wrong?” she asked, looking very concerned.

    “I don’t think they like smooth jazz,” I said as deadpan as I could manage.

    It was all she could do to keep the wine in her mouth…

  393. Booklover – by “Gas lighter,” do you mean the disposable “sacred Bic” many of my old circle used to light the candles with? Or my father’s old refillable Zippo lighter? Stainless steel, cotton wool filling, just add fuel. It went through Italy, Sicily, and North Africa with him under, shall we say, less than civilized conditions? (Germans to the left of us, Germans to the right of us….oh, do get Bill Mauldin’s Willie and Joe cartoon book from that period for a sense of what it was like, along with Ernie Pyle’s memoirs.)

  394. Petrus, homeopathy isn’t simply a matter of dilution. It requires a particular mode of preparation, which I’ve discussed in some detail here. Using your urinary tract to dilute a drug doesn’t make it a homeopathic remedy, it just makes it dilute. (One difference is that a homeopathic remedy has the opposite effect on the body as compared to the original substance.) Whether or not your proposed method would have some other effect is a question I can’t answer, due to lack of knowledge.

    Aidan, fascinating. I’m impressed that he can get away with saying such things.

    David BTL, that makes a great deal of sense. I forget who it was who pointed out that every work of philosophy is an indirect autobiography of its author…

    Tripp, geomancy has a very dry sense of humor…

  395. @Petrus
    Re: urine as therapy
    Gandhi is also said to have used it, and I did potentize some once early in my learning. It has a place but not something I’ve worked with enough to have knowledge of.

    Actual urine compounds were used years ago by conventional medicine as clot-busters (antithrombotic agents), though now they are probably synthesized by bacteria. Anecdotal evidence is the practice is at least harmless and possibly beneficial, counter to intuition that it’s waste material.

    Use of potentized tissues and the like would seem most likely to be useful when addressing pathologies of the lowest stage, that of fixed organ dysfunction. These therapies are often called “drainage” or organ therapies, kind of like an herbal detox regimen, but with low X potencies.There are practitioners specializing in this.

    I made a Dreamwidth journal to post this sort of info, and with JMG’s permission will link it here later.

  396. Walt F:
    I am one of those people who just does not get poetry no matter how hard I try. Every so often I stumble across a poem whose meaning I can somewhat understand, but that is a rarity. No problem with visualization, though.

    Dusk Shine:
    When I heard that the Betsy Ross flag had been deemed a symbol of hate I immediately thought that some people have far too much time on their hands. Then I bought one to hang on the porch for national holidays.

    Re: Confederate flag
    They were common in northeast Pennsylvania when we lived there, but it was clear that this was no misplaced nostalgia for the Civil War. It was, as others here have said, a kind of ‘up yours’ to the feds and the cultural elite who look down on the sorts of people who get dirty at work.

  397. @Robert Mathiesen: I think regular occult practice has something to do with it, as well. I’ve finally got a toolkit to get my inner house in order, and in comparison, watching TV amounts to wading through so much untreated sewage.

  398. @Petrus

    For a remedy to be considered homeopathic (in the traditional sense), the usual process is this.

    You take a simple substance (plant, mineral, animal product, metal etc.), prepare potencies out of it by dilution and succussion. The numbers you hear like 6X, 6C, 30C, LM 0/1 refer to the different modes of dilution (10 times, 100 times, 500 times) and number of successions given.

    A bunch of healthy people are taken and the remedy is given to them over many days and weeks and the physical and mental symptoms that develop are carefully recorded by the doctor conducting the proving. The symptoms that repeat in many people are given a higher grade, those that repeat in a few or rare person are given lower grades (3,2,1…). This forms the description of the remedy that you see in the homeopathic materia medicas.

    When a patient comes, the doctor matches the symptoms (mental, emotional and physical) and gives the closest matching remedy based on the “like cures like” principle.

    The symptoms that you get from a proving of the potencies can be vastly different from what you would expect from the crude form. For example: common salt when proved has a wide range of mental/emotional action that you would not expect if you just try to observe the symptoms of salt consumption.

    On a similar note, Psorinum (made from fluid of itch vesicles) is not automatically prescribed for skin disorders. Psorinum is proved just like any other remedy, its symptoms are recorded and it is given only if is the best fit in the situation.

    What I have given above is a simplified model. I hope that it is sufficient to convey the point that auto urine therapy is not homeopathy (for a deep dive on homeopathy, this is a good book:

    Urine therapy is unheard of in my circle. Maybe it works on some other principle.

  399. Earlier in the comments someone was mentioning the seasons in the Southern Hemisphere. Australia’s weather bureau does a wonderful job of detailing the indigenous weather knowledge based on the various locations in the country. It can vary from between 2 and 6 seasons per year.

  400. @Welsely,

    Are you set on steel? You might want to think on something less useful.

    I ask because I’m thinking of all the bronzes said to have been melted down to make cannon.

    My idea at one point was a glass-fibre or kevlar ‘page’ embroidered (I had thought by machine) with carbon fibre tow. Flexible, which is convenient, high-contrast that cannot fade by the nature of the materials, and no worries about rust. Kevlar would need to be kept out of UV to last, but glass fibre might tempt a culture-less glassblower to recycle the pages by burning the carbon out at some point, so perhaps I do still have the same problem. (I had thought glass fibres could not be recycled, but that only goes for the plastic composites, apparently.)

    I see where you’re coming from with classical music, but the tragedy that touches my heart would be to lose those scraps of wisdom that have already survived one civilization’s end, so I was thinking of the Loeb Classical Library.

    One advantage to your idea is that lot of Makerspaces and even some libraries have smallish laser cutters, so you could start right away with no capital costs, just materials.

  401. John, so what do you make of Nietzsche being one of Crowley’s Thelemic Saints?

    I’d be intrigued to see what you make of Sartre. My radical Kantian streak just sees all things either subsumed into critique, or basically as incorrect. Being and Nothingness is Sartre’s interesting reading of The Critique of Pure Reason, considered by many Heidegger scholars to be a missreading in light of Heidegger’s correct reading (Being and Time). Don’t you think that Sartrean critique attempts to humanise everything?

  402. @Peter Van Erp, re Polar Plunges: Very cool (and literally too). I’m going to have to try one of those. The typical “hey look at the crazy people” local news articles about them invariably include a photo that shows said crazy people clearly having a wonderful time. Participating in one is going to have to involve a bit of planning, because there’s usually a lot of other things going on (especially family wise) on the first of the year.

    @Patrica re the aural quality of poetry: I think you’re right. And it applies to writing other than poetry as well, such as dialog. One illustrative anecdote: while discussing the horror genre many years ago (pre ubiquitous Internet), I remembered a line that perfectly summed up the essence of the specific type of horror story I was writing about. But I couldn’t find or recall the source. It turned out that was because I remembered the line as a voice-over from a film. I literally remembered hearing the words, and could even describe the tone and cadence of that voice. But the line is actually a caption from a graphic novel panel.

    (The line is “How had I reached this appalling position with love, only love, as my guide?” It’s from the Black Freighter comic-within-the-comic in the original Watchmen.)

    @daniel re aphantasia: Thank you for that link. It emphasizes my main point, that such differences can be “unnoticed,” as in not realizing that others aren’t just like you in that regard, for a long time.

    Regarding aphantasia in general: In a possibly related way, I’ve found that I, and it appears most others as well, can’t really imagine (visualize? tactilize?) sensations of pain, even in forms I’ve felt many times before, when it’s not actually happening. I anticipate and remember the “badness” of it but not its actual qualia. (This also seems to affect authors attempting to describe the pain their characters feel from injuries. They really can’t, in any direct way. Instead there’s a limited repertoire of clichés comparing one cause of pain to another: a snake bite feels like a stabbing, a stab wound feels like burning, a burn feels like venom…)

  403. Patricia Matthews, I meant the gas lighters which are refilled with methane. As for the cartoon, a while ago I encountered during my work in the antiquariat, where I work, a cartoon about the Second World War in North Africa; it was about General Rommel, his victories and his defeat, and his adversaries. It was really a harsh time for the soldiers involved.

  404. @Christophe: I infer from your comments that you spent some time in Yogyakarta. My father was born in Magelang, and played around the Borobudur while my grandfather was in charge of the reconstruction 110 years ago. I had the pleasure of visiting the Borobudur and Prambanan with my son a decade ago. We went to Yogyakarta to buy a large gamelan gong, and we enjoyed a gamelan performance in the Palace, as well a performance of the Ramayana at Prambanan.

  405. @JMG

    Thank you once again, very much for your reply!

    I guess I wanted an answer about a teleology of the universe to the concept of pain, but it is probably a moot point
    thinking about it. Of course, my will or anyone’s guess will not change basic principles here, I did not doubt it.
    I probably wanted an answer that kind of appeases me towards a reality that allows pain, but given, thats a waste of energy probably.

    To another point, that maybe Mr. Greer wants to answer or anyone else:

    What is this “middle pillar” exercise that has been discuessed on this forum, it is the visualization of a light-orb transversing
    the chakras of the body, no? Dos it go both upwards and downwards?

    I feel to have noticed, when sometimes I imagine something like a shining sun transversing my body, it is as if my body aligns automatically into a healthy form and posture, without conscious movements on my behalf.
    But only if I really focus on the visualization, if my mind wanders it does not work.

    I can also kind of raise my arms by imagining a rising sun, with the intention of rising up, but without consciously raising my arms.

    Am I on to something? Is this standard practice?

    Understandably I can not visit course units in my East Asian practice now.

    Usually I do standing meditation, often (but not always) only standing without any further methods, and my consciousness is like smoke or a fog entering and filling my body, often comfortably dissolving tensions.

    Is that different from the middle pillar exercise or the standard Western esoteric practices of the kind?

    And another question, it was mentioned that Western and Eastern practices my interact unfavourably depleting Kidney Qi –
    Where’s the difference in East and West here, focus vs emptyness, or visualizations on different parts of the body?

    Last question: what is this curious “nine hazels” Qi Gong practice the Golden Dawn mentions, I mean what can I imagine this to be? What is different from the Eastern tradition here?

  406. WaltF,
    You mentioned people being unable to imagine pain although I can imagine bumping my elbow in that special spot but I also can’t imagine weather. When I am packing in hot weather to go somewhere it is cold it is only by a huge effort of will that I pack the right kind of clothes. Not really interesting but that is what a few weeks of isolation will do to you.

  407. Another update from the goat pasture: baby Hope is growing, and more confident in her movements … and sometimes lands flat on her fave, but she’s improving. Mama Madison, though … last evening she was listless, so into the iso pen for her (and Hope in as well, inside a dog crate to protect her from clumsiness). This morning, we found Madison dead. Hope is now an orphan, though she was already on the bottle due to being too short to reach Madison’s udder (if Madison had produced enough milk for her – given her dam and paternal granddam, she should have had PLENTY for both kids plus us). The last of the triplets (Hope’s baby aunt and uncles) finally accepted the bottle this afternoon. He and his brother were presold, and the buyers had come out the day they were born to put a deposit on them and name them (Franklin and Karl).

    This has been a rough week, starting Wednesday with Madison’s rough and premature kidding. Thursday evening, I found one of my bunny growouts dead (destined for the freezer, but still) along with a breeder hen Thursday morning, then another breeder hen Friday morning, along with a breeder bunny kindling early, with the entire litter of eight dying over less than 24 hours. All of this makes me suspect I have a new microbe ripping through my livestock. Whether it’s the Unnameable-This-Week, or something that wandered here from the neighboring state-owned swamp, or something that hitched a ride in on the feed run, I do hope it eases up on my critters.

  408. Hello JMG.

    What with my medical clinic being shut due to the situation Of Which We Are Not To Discuss on your blog, my mind has been casting about a quite a range of subjects of late.

    I’m 61, and grew up with an engineer father who used a slide rule. I used slide rules as a kid, and became a slide-rule adept in high school. I carried one in my back-pack as a matter of course. When the scientific calculator, the Rockwell (Unicom) 202SR, came out in the mid-70s, my father bought me one, and I carried it along with my slide rule in high school. I was the only kid who had either. (BTW that SR designation meant “Slide Rule”. Like you JMG, I have Grand Mal Aspergers…)

    My first career was electrical engineering, ending when I entered medical school at age 40, but I’ve always loved slide rules, and collected them. In the 90’s I even designed my own layout with a pipe-dream of manufacturing and selling it. I’ve even basically figured out a manufacturing process I could implement at home; that was the 1% inspiration the project needed, what is needed to proceed is the 99% perspiration.

    As you have noted recently, there has been something of a resurgence of some older-technology, such as vinyl records. I’ve heard of typewriters making a return, and I’m sure there are others. I wonder if slide rules could come-back. I had once imagined the collector market might have some potential, though for the moment, it’s dormant if not dead and gone. JMG, do you think the slide-rule has the potential to recover its place in the sun as a useful technology? I’m looking for my next project once I’m back in the saddle…